July 1, 2010

Please Won't You Be My Neighbor?


Oh, heck.  Let's just sing it together...

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

It's a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So let's make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we're together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?

Won't you please,
Won't you please,
Please won't you be my neighbor?

Um, what is a beautywood? And what does a neighborly day for a beauty mean?  I always wondered and chalked it up that I was just a kid who needed to get older to understand.

I am older.
Much older.
And I still don't understand.

Here is something else I don't understand.  I was talking to my friend the other day about a neighborhood issue we are having right now and she suggested I blog about it to see what people all over have experienced in their neighborhoods and to see if any of you have experienced what we are experiencing. Wow.  How many times can I repeat the same word in that run on sentence?

So we have lived here a month, right?  No one.  I mean NO ONE has come to say hello. Not a "welcome to the neighborhood" greeting. No waves. Maybe a half lift of an arm with 2 fingers to look like a wave. There has been a lot of staring. Some slow drive by's with people checking out what we have done so far to fix up the yard. My favorite was 2 men on bikes who kept circling the front after we planted some flowers and Japanese box woods.  I wonder what they would have done if they knew I was drinking my morning cup of coffee and looking out my window...

...at my cold, aloof neighborhood.  OK.  Just kidding but I would not be me if I did not add my usual drama to a post.  

People...I wish I were kidding this time...walk by the house and when they see our family outside doing yard work and the girls playing with sidewalk chalk...THEY CROSS THE STREET to avoid saying hello.
Here is a man who is landscaping my neighbors yard.  He sees my cute little girls and not so cute me sitting out front.  Suddenly, invisible molecules captivate him somewhere yonder there across the street and he is unable to look away from them until he safely passes our house to edge the neighbors yard.  And the same invisible entities captivates him again when he walks by the front of the house again.  Unbelievable. 

I mean, I may be grossly biased but I think these faces would garner at least a wave.  Look at 'em...
 Look at this face!!  I am thinking it is all kinds of cute.
 Playing shy...
Playing peek a boo with Mommy and camera behind the bush...
Come on!!!!!
They even clean up after themselves...
Looky there.  All the chalk in the bucket.  See?  Good values.  Tidy front yard.

 All righty.  They may pick the flowers when they are not supposed to...
Cati, STOP IT! 
Cati, I can still see what you did even if you can't see me, silly goose.
 ELLA!!!  
YOU TOO!
But we are a nice family who happens to go outside in July.  In Florida.  Only a tad odd.

Friends, how hard is hello?  Is it really that taxing?  I am all about understanding someone's shyness.  You can be shy.  You do not need to come over with a big bear hug and an "on the spot" invite to dinner.  But I sure do believe that shyness is not an excuse to be rude.

So.  We have been here a month and my plan is to use those cute little 4th of July clothespins and labels and knock on doors with chocolate chip scones and a hello.  But my fear is I will shame people who may have meant to say hello and let this month go by.  Or people will tremble behind their closed door waiting for perky, scone lady who just moved in to go away.   

Or worse, my goodies will be refused because it may require...GASP...interaction.

But here is a dose of irony.  I am really fearful to put myself out there to do this.  How convenient for me to whine about what others are not doing because I am scared to do it myself.  But what am I scared of?
Rejection.  Plain and simple.  It is something that has hurt me deeply most of my life. I think I fear that more than anything else which is why I sniff it out. I saw it the other day when 2 girls told Cati to go away at the pool.  I think it was the first time in my life I entertained cussing out a child.  I think it hurt worse than when it happens to me!  Rejection also leaves scars that turn into tough skin.  And we wear that tough skin in many different ways. I know I do. Sometimes it takes on the form of AVOIDANCE.

I think it is what makes people hide behind their houses and never sit on their front porches.  I think it is why we become vested in the lives of other people on reality shows because we live vicariously through other people's reality.  Interaction requires a level of intimacy that has become foreign now. 

But I keep going on an on.  Does saying hello creep in on YOUR comfort zone?  Or are you perky lady comin' a callin' with goodies?  I want to do this and be the neighbor and witness God wants me to be.   But I am nervous.

Any thoughts?

16 comments:

  1. You always make me think! I am closer to the perky (scary?) neighbor than the avoiding one and I figure it doesn't matter what people think! Maybe they throw away my cinnamon rolls or loaves of (amazing, of course) French bread, but at least they know I am here and make an effort to be kind. I don't worry about making them feel guilty--that isn't my purpose and I can't choose how they feel. My purpose is only to be kind and "neighbor-ly" so that is what I do. I also try to share "all" of the time which reminds them that I do care about them. We take treats to our neighbors randomly and on a whim which keeps us all on our toes. The most important thing, I think, is that my children know we care about others and we share what we have. They also know who lives around us a little better which addresses some safety issues, too. Good luck!!

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  2. We just moved Saturday night. We pulled up to our new home around 9:30 p.m and suddenly we had a neighbor get the urge to water his grass! I was thinking NOSY PEOPLE already haha. He actually came across the street yesterday asking if we saw his "cat". The dreaded neighbor meeting was over and he seemed like a cool dude after all. Our other neighbor is an elderly man and he was taking out his trash and DH went over to help and introduce himself to him.
    Another quick story is when we moved to AZ, our neighbor actually came over to talk with us and asked if he could help! I guess it just depends on the neighbors. Ours seem to be on the way older side. Are your neighbors young families? Maybe they just are embarrassed to do it. I think your idea is great. Keep us posted on how it goes. Good luck.

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  3. I wouldn't be able to resist those cute faces :-) I bet you people are also just scared of rejections. I live in a cul de sac where half my neighbors I can go over and borrow an egg, or ask to borrow the mower when ours is in the shop, the other 3 haven't talked to in years cause their rude!

    I would say go for the scones, at least they could have a cool name for you, the crazy friendly scone lady :-) that's way better than not knowing who lives in that house in my opinion!

    People being friendly doesn't creep me out in the slighest, I live in a very small town though where men still get the doors, you know most people and you talk casually with strangers in the super market.

    I think you should go for it, and I am, gonna guess it will all go well- if not their loss you would be a great friendly neighbor to have!

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  4. Ok, since you asked. I am the scary neighbor. Shocking, I know. I just can't wait for people to do the inviting because most never will. So, we are the party house. Everyone is invited for BBQs and birthdays, dance parties in the driveway and fishing in the pond. You name it, we think of a reason to invite people in the hood. Some people still don't really talk to us....actually avoid us. Their loss. THEIR LOSS. Jess....do you hear me?.... THEIR LOSS!!!

    Now go bake your cupcakes and paint your pins. Their response, or lack of, is NOT your responsibility. Doing what He puts in your heart IS.

    So.....did you get the box?? :-)

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  5. Our neighbor to the west commented on how when they bought their house they were hoping that all of their acreage included our lot to the east. Hmmmm, then those to the east complained about how they hate all of the light pollution now going on in the country (real subtle, huh?)

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  6. I'm sure the other moms are thinking the same thing fear of rejection. I think you should go take scones and say hello. They will feel relief that you made the first step, and if they are just private people well they have some nice scones. When someone walks in front of your house and your out there, go right on up and say HI! I just moved in, where do you live? and then... well, nice to meet you!
    I am so afriad of rejection and it hurts so deeply it has kept me from doing many things, I was just rejected by a family member recently when I opened up my heart and gave out love.
    but new neighbors? You can do it!! Put your Lollibag on filled with scones and go get 'em!

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  7. Go for it. Take your clothespins and your scones and your cute little self and canvas the hood until you find someone worthy of them. (By worthy I only mean someone who will take two seconds to realize they are lucky to have a great new family in the area)

    I love love love where I live and it has nothing to do with my house. In fact my house is my least favorite part of where I live. Having great neighbors makes all the difference in the world. We are like a mini community... Not always this way though... It was not part of the culture of this neighborhood to just hang out in the driveway or go thrifting together, but we found a family to do that with and slowly the culture of the hood changed. All of the sudden other people wanted to be a part of what was going on. We keep inviting people and hope that they will someday join us. If not, well we tried!

    Growing up, the moms use to have coffee parties. That might be fun to try once you meet a couple of people. Or a fire, oh wait, you are in Florida... Do people sit around the fire in Florida?

    Good luck! And thank you for reminding me that it is hard to be the new kid on the block. (at work, in a mom's group, at church, etc) It is so important for me to continue to remember to reach out, be welcoming, etc. It is scary, but so worthwhile!

    Rebecca

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  8. Funny, I just realized that I always hesitate to comment on blogs for the same reasons you just listed. Hee, hee...

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  9. Society in a whole is SO MEAN :(
    we are living in the last days so everything that 2Timothy 3 says is coming to pass! its a cold Dark world that we live in and we are called to be the LIGHT and Salt.. and as you know salt seasons everything nice but salt also IRRITATES lol
    So obviously you doing such a lovely Christ like gesture is surely going to weird and irritate some people but.. who cares!
    If you feel the Lord telling you to do it then HE will be right by your side and who knows! Maybe this will plant a little seed in one of them and spark and friendship.. and just maybe.. just maybe one day you could tell them about the Lord and lead them to salvation!
    Am i being overly optimistic here ?? lol
    I am So going to be praying for you!! :)
    It is scary and easier said that done.. but i know if anyone can do it.. you can :)

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  10. I keep thinking about Wysteria Lane. Can you imagine neighbors like that? Or wait, do you even know what and who lives on Wysteria Lane? OH, well you're a Christian and by golly we don't watch those shows do we? Ok, seriously, I'm totally meaning to be funny. I actually had to stop watching this past season because it finally got to me. Anyways, go for it!!

    AND HERE IS MY COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!

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  11. WOW....Are we twins....Im going through the same thing, we just moved from Vegas to Denver, with no friends or family here and on our SECOND day here we went grocery shopping and left our dogs in the backyard and the neighbors called the owners of the home and complained, saying if they don't stop they'll call animal control! Really, there somewhere new without their parents and scared, what the heck! I'm rather scared too to go to them and introduce myself, for fear of rejection as well....why oh why? I mean would I really care if they don't like me, NO, their lose! But I'm still a bit scared. We've been here 3 months now, and I already can't wait until our lease is up so we can move. And I feel it's even harder because I don't have kids, some people just don't interact with others because of this...sad, but thats how I see it. We lived in our home in Vegas for 6 years and didn't EVER any out with any neighbors, who all had kids and hung out with each other. UGHHH....we should be neighbors...

    Good Luck, hopefully it all works out, maybe if you do take scones it will make them see how cowardly they are being, that you had to be the one to say "Hi, I'm new in the neighborhood, whats your name?"

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  12. I say scone them! So what if it's been a month. Some neighborhoods are just not as friendly as others but maybe that's why you are there. we need to build community it doe not just happen it takes work, and I say if it's gotta start some where why not here, why not now and why not you! Go get em!

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  13. I've been in my place a month and I still have yet to meet many of my neighbors. To be honest, my extended family members have met and chatted with more of them than I have. Don't know why . . . I seem to never be around when the neighbors are out or something! Anyway, most places I have lived my neighbors have not said boo to me. In our new place, everyone seems to be more friendly (definitely waving at the very least, and little hi's or conversations when there is more time to chitchat.) It is a blessing! I am more embarrassed that I haven't talked to more of them than that they have not talked a ton to me personally. (My husband has talked to more of the neighborhood than I have. I chalk that up to all the yard work. ;) Anyhoo, I'm rambling. But I think you should definitely take the first step . . . in faith. Even if the neighbors aren't "into" your scones, you've made the first move and there's nothing wrong with that! Some people honestly just do not do small talk so these kinds of things terrify them to start because they're afraid that they won't know what to say. Have you been saying hi and waving to people? I'm good at the smile and wave. Maybe do that to the people who act like you're invisible and it will force them to "see" you. Then, hit em with a scone! Not literally . . . I mean, bring one over. LOL. Although, I guess if they're rude you could . . . JUST KIDDING.

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  14. So when I was little we lived in a small town. We didn't have to meet the neighbors. Momma and Daddy had gone to school with them. We were at each others' houses all the time. Then we moved here. We met the across the street neighbors and the ones that lived next to them and two houses down. But not the neighbor. We found out later he was pretty much a hermit. But when those people we'd met moved, they were replaced by college kids that we never really met. And the man on the end was mean. He yelled at me for drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. Anyways...Now my parents live in the country and since I got married and lived in apartments/4plexes, we've always met the neighbors but never really been friends...

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  15. Hello! I was guided to your post by another that I follow. I so understand what you mean about people. I am a Christian mom with 7 children....2 have moved out now after graduation and our oldest son is now going to college. We moved back here to my hometown about 8 years ago or so when my dad was ill. He is better now but we are rooted here now again. I love our community and the people in it but I know that if I don't make the effort to be friendly, others don't seem to try. I don't know why that is. God has really stressed to us to be a light here. I find myself avoiding certain people at times and am ashamed to say so. But I am working on it and here is how I do it: I make a conscious effort to smile at everyone I see or wave when driving by. I also try to say, 'Have a nice day' to the cashiers before they do. Sometimes they are doing it as a matter of rote. When I ask them how they are and tell them to have a good day, they seemed stunned that someone is actually interested in more than small talk. I know that I am reaching others just simply by being me. Sometimes that will open people up. I certainly don't have a lot of 'friends' around here, but I do know that people are much friendlier to me now that they know I come with a smile.
    I hope I didn't bore you with this. I think I will add you to my follow list if that is ok. I am glad to meet you and maybe you could stop by my blog sometime.....oh, yeah...we have 4 adopted kids of our own besides our natural 3. Be blessed!

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  16. Hi! I just found your blog via one pretty thing! I know this post is old, but I had to comment because I live in Florida too (in Tampa) and my experience is exactly the same! I've lived in my house for 8 years and we STILL don't have any friends in this neighborhood. I've been out front with the kids before an had another family walk by with a little girl the same age as mine, and I smiled and nodded my head and they just ignored me!!! I feel your pain - maybe it's this state we live in!

    I read your story about infertility and was very captivated by it. I'm kind of in a transition now where I am trying to really find my faith in God, having never been very religious in the past. Your story is just the type of thing that I like to read because it shows me how God actually works in the lives of others and strengthens my own beliefs. Thank you for sharing!

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