Mike and Sandy, who were lovely neighbors, put the house next door to us on the market a couple of years ago.It didn’t take too long to sell. New neighbor Bill was pretty quiet. We didn’t see much of him, but he was friendly when we did, and he kept up his yard and didn’t let his garbage/yard waste/recycle bins stay out at the curb for days (which isn’t usual anyway on our block, but David keeps an eye out for that). But, Bill decided to move back to Seattle, and the house was for sale again. It sold really fast this time, to “a young couple with a kid about his age,” said Bill, pointing to Peter, when we strolled over there to chat. Bill left early last week and the new folks arrived a day or so later. I looked out and saw a young man, chatting with another neighbor out walking her dog. There was a toddler, about 18 months old. And I began to wonder what I could take over there.
Used to, in the olden days, you would take a casserole over to a new family. Or maybe a plate of cookies or a cake or a pie. I’m reluctant to do any such thing these days. There are so many dietary choices and regimes these days. There’s gluten-free. No GMOs. Lactose-intolerant. Free range. Only local sources. Low fat. No fat. And I understand. I’ve got such restricted food choices myself, now, that when people ask what I can eat, I say, “Salad. Without tomatoes.”
These days, I usually go with apples. I bought a whole bag of small Honeycrisp apples (because they are reallllly good). And I got some Annie’s Organic snacks for the toddler.
I took my foody welcome over, late one afternoon, earlier this week. The young mom answered the door; and I hope my face conveyed “welcome,” because she wasn’t what I expected. She was wonderfully kind and happy to meet me and grateful for the apples, etc. She just looked a little unconventional, at least for our block, here in Waco, Texas. The hair on the sides of her head was shaved close, and the remaining hair was wound and clipped up. And she had tattoos. Quite a few tattoos. That I could observe. She had on a camisole-type top, so I saw her shoulders and arms. And it’s absolutely none of my business if there are any more. She invited me inside (dad and baby were on an errand to purchase some popsicles) and we talked. She’s from Canada and he’s from Minnesota. They’ve been in the L.A. area for the past few years.
“And what brought you here to Waco,” I asked. Baylor brought them here.
Her husband is starting work on his PhD. In Church Music. “It’s been just amazing,” she said, “how everything worked out. My husband had seen the house, when he bought it, but I hadn’t seen it until we got here. We love it. It’s so big, compared to our little two-bedroom apartment in California. Everything just fell into place. It was a God thing.”
So, we’re alike. On the outside, we’re way different. On the inside, we’re sisters.
But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.
Ephesians 2:11-13 (The Message)
Now I have another fellow-traveler for the journey. It’s a God thing.