Saturday, March 5, 2016

When the world is stealing your joy

Today started out so very, very good.  I had spent the morning overflowing with gratitude, savoring the rays of rare spring sunshine on our new front porch with my brood of five. In the afternoon, I immersed myself in the yard, sleeveless and adorned in sunglasses, my gloved fingers sinking deep into the earth, tilling the ground, sowing life where before there was none.

The joy! Oh if I could put into words the way my heart soared, the warmth of the sun, the gift of creating beauty, of growing food. This week has been exponentially hard, discouraging and painful. How wonderful it felt to finally be living out my dream - to plant and to reap in our very own garden. Thank you Jesus for this gem of a moment in the midst of chaos.

And then I got the email. The words were hostile, angry, hurtful. An upset neighbor on the prowl, threatening to steal my joy. I've been on this planet long enough to know I cannot be the sole cause of this harsh outburst. There is more to the story. This I keep telling myself. People don't speak with such malice over garden trellises. Or do they? 

I question. Why is this happening to me? A people-pleaser at heart, this is unchartered territory, this walking around like there is a target on my back. I'm not accustomed to being so controversial. I've always been as vanilla as they come, never extreme enough to cause much of a ruckus. Until we moved here, that is. I feel the need to proceed with caution in my every move. I wonder if I should weed my yard under the cover of darkness, for fear I might upset someone. Really? Is this how we want to live?

This is not the first time in the short 15 months we've resided here that I've questioned our decision. It felt so clear at the time that this was the house for us. I'm trying desperately not to let the few squeaky wheels taint the whole pot. How do I live in a Christ-like way under adversity?

This. This is where my heart wrestles tonight. Love thy neighbor as thyself. I can't get that verse out of my head. I'm angry, livid even, shaking with adrenaline in the heat of it all this afternoon. It takes me a couple hours to gather my cool. And then I receive a challenge, a word of truth spoken by a friend. It's a tough pill to swallow. My head protests but my heart knows this is my higher call. 

Invite them to dinner.

Nearly every part of me cries out that this is a bad idea. Certainly it will be uncomfortable. But what did Christ do in the face of opposition? He welcomed it. And I think he is asking me to do the same. I am tempted to withdraw, to hibernate behind my own property line, to fume. But where will that get me? Further alienated, emphasizing an "us versus them" mentality. We have gotten off to a rough start and it's time to remedy. 

So why am I writing about this here? Because I need accountability. I know that after today, I will make every excuse in the book why I shouldn't invite the resistant neighbors into my home. I will try and convince myself that just writing them a nice email is "good enough." But I know better. I am called to welcome them in. Please pray! 😁

1 comment:

  1. 1. This is beautifully written. You have such a way with words.
    2. It's so great that you know what brings you joy and that you are willing to fight for it.
    3. I can't wait to see what's going to happen.
    4. If it goes south, want to buy a plot of land with us and build some houses with no hoa and all the gardening space you could ever want?


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