neighbors

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March.31.2014.

we are created to be wild. we are created to be soft too. to know that it is okay to ask that stranger in the seat next to us if they are okay & know that they will appreciate our concern. because i have never felt bad about asking someone if they are okay, but have often regretted not asking. every time actually. it is because we are created to be together, even though it seems we need space.

God has shown me clearly this past weekend at hope spoken that i am beautiful, i am beloved, and i am His bride. i no longer have to wait to be confident in my looks, or martial status. in my career or my weight bracket. i am a child of His, and i am your neighbor.

you are a child of His, and are my neighbor.

that is why i believe God has given me a love for being someone full of love. it spills out of me urgently, ungracefully, often at inappropriate times.

but it is love i seek to spill.

that is why i can talk to the male cab driver originally from memphis about ncaa basketball just as easily as i can talk to the lady tsa agent about her move from a rural town in the middle of michigan. perhaps not everyone can do that, and enjoy it as much as i do.

i am no longer afraid of what people will think if i mention God. i have realized that if i replace the word God or christian, or faith, or church, the word i come back with time and time again is love. it is the unchangeable word that translates to any language & is understood in halftime scores, weather updates & sweet silences between elevator rides that seem unlikely.

God has given me this blessing, that i have experienced the darkest times, (while catching glimpses of light) that allows me to relate in every way, to the people who party too hard, the waiting to be someone’s siginificant other (& thinks they will never come… they will), the stepparent who just misses their teenage baby, to the homesick cab driver, to the pothead counselor from cleveland who doesn’t understand the hypocritical christians. not because i am all of these things, or have done all of these things, or have been to all of these places.

but because i am always in the midst of seeking love.

 

i seek to love these strangers, i seek to love my neighbor. and i falter with every single step.

 
it is why i somehow truly relate to so many folks, because it has nothing to do with me, & everything to do with love.

i was given a gift to write, to be truthful, i don’t always want this gift. it has nothing to do with me. i was blessed with it. for these reasons, i am very hard to offend. He has made my soft hippy heart pliable for such situations. He has allowed the broken hearted, tender, tough, confused, lost souls to find me – because they see that openness that God has given me. i take no responsibility for it. it is a gift to me. i cherish it. i fumble with how to use it properly, and then, i fumble again. i sometimes struggle with this. do you? it seems we all struggle with our gifts sometimes, because the most apparent gifts others see in us, we sometimes are blind to our own. i wish i could say this makes me nonjudgmental, but He made me human. it usually just makes me awkward in fact.

and he made you my neighbor, so you are human too.

i am learning the more LOVE we show ALL the people, the more they will share of themselves. the more they share of themselves, the smaller this big (tiny) bad (amazing) world seems.

the light twinkles in through the pieces. the grace sings to us through each whispered ‘i’m sorry’, or ‘how are you’?

He makes this possible by allowing us all to be different from one another, so that we may hold up our pieces, our bits of wonky, irregular gifts, & piece together a love so whole it will swallow our hurts, & joy will be all we can feel.  we need to be broken into tiny pieces of love, pulling together our gifts, so that we make our own windows, & seek the lightness that love gives together. that we can feel that joy as a large, unending neighborhood, with our beautiful stained glass masterpiece.

we become whole by giving away our LOVE, our stories, our kindness & wisdom. & we become whole & healed by realizing that we as neighbors  as a world – are the same, with bits of each other reflected back. the conflict comes when we fail to listen to our neighbors stories. when we shut them out because they believe differently than us. they dress differently, they parent differently. we listen to different tunes, and drive more stable vehicles, therefore we are better.

this is WRONG.

no one is better than another. no one is nobler than another. no human has more worth than another.

there was one love that lead us to this neighborhood, and we need to remember to bring it tea, and listen to its story.

we are all neighbors. we will never have the opportunity to meet every single human during our lifetimes, it is humanly impossible.

but, we may start, by introducing ourselves to someone next door, in the office, in line at the dmv, at the pharmacy checkout. 

hi, i’m barb, & all i want it is to be loved and understood. what’s your name? where do you live? at the corner of misunderstood and alone, or at the corner of me too, and hey, i understand?

love. not misunderstood. not miscalculated for the rich, or beautiful, or perfectly coifed, edited version of ourselves. 

for you, my neighbor.

we want to be loved.

we need to share stories.

we need know that LOVE will save us.

we need to know that love is the SAVIOR.

 

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