This past spring, during Lent, I found a list of tasks for each day leading up to Easter, and I followed it as best as an unstructured, time-disabled person can. I was doing pretty well until I got to Day 23: Introduce yourself to a neighbor.
I wanted to check this entry off my list. I intended to do it. I knew which neighbor it would be. I was even glad to see that item on the list amid the pray for your enemies, don't turn on the radio while in the car, take 5 minutes of silence at lunch, forgive someone, etc.
A new family had moved in across from us late last summer. Their kids had come to play with the other neighborhood kids a few times before the weather turned cold and we'd all retreated into our homes to hibernate for the winter. I had briefly introduced myself in the dark of Halloween night and had invited the kids over for snow fort building and hot chocolate during Christmas break, but I hadn't really talked to the mom.
This was a good excuse to really meet her and talk to her…it was on my list, after all; a task to mark off. It should have been easy, but I was feeling lonely and alone and uncertain around this time last spring. I was too timid about being rejected or it seeming strange that I decided to show up at her door 9 months after they had moved in to introduce myself just to say "Hello and welcome to the neighborhood." And I wasn't sure what she'd say if I tried to explain that I was following a Lenten list of tasks and I'd chosen her for my neighbor to meet.
And then, finally, I had a chance to meet her and talk to her in late spring; oddly enough, it was at the little league fields even though we live kitty corner from each other. Well, it turns out we have a ton in common, besides having sons with the same name. And I wondered why had it taken me so long to meet her and talk to her because now I have a new friend.
Maybe I lost time in making a friend last spring or maybe it was all in good time.
I don't think anything happens by accident or without some purpose. I think that everything is interwoven even when we don't see the connection or reasons right away. All the points of significance or perhaps seemingly insignificance eventually form the images of our lives, giving clarity to all those dots.
All in good time we make friends, lose a job, find faith, learn a lesson, dodge a bullet, have our hearts broken, get an answer, seek a path, change directions, open the door to opportunity, grow a family, get lost, lose hope, find strength, pursue passions, experience a miracle, live.
We can't hurry the course of time; our timelines and lifetimes. We must be patient and allow our lives to play out in various tempos…sometimes racing by and sometimes dragging on….learning and waiting and living and seeking, opening and closing, waxing and waning.
And all in good time, over the last six months, I have begun building friendships, not feeling so lonely and alone; it's a good feeling. It's also a lesson I must remember; be patient, be still. Over and out…