recently i’ve been getting asked the same question quite a bit – are you getting settled? i know that most people that ask me this are probably thinking about whether i can find my way to a grocery store, post office, library (i think the fact that i’ve already acquired two library cards and have checked out over 15 items confirms i’m definitely “settled” in the library department), and if all our boxes are unpacked.
but when i think about myself being settled, in my mind it can equate to feeling comfortable or safe. not bad things, but when i start feeling my excitement about a new city and helping a new community that is quite broken and hurting in many ways, like all towns, die down i get a bit nervous. everyday life can easily take over and concerns about getting a “to do” list done, finding my way around town, and dealing with kids become my reasons/excuses for not following up with things like the adult literacy program, community garden, getting to really know and develop friendships with neighbors, etc. they become my sorry excuses for not being salt in my neighborhood and community. my home is safe. my church is safe.
i’m actually quite thankful for the question. it’s made me think. since the moment omar and i decided to move here we’ve had a burden on our hearts to love the people of our town and work alongside them. and i noticed that while i was quite involved in setting up a home and finding places for office supplies, linens, and skeins of yarn, i wasn’t exactly praying about finding avenues for developing relationships outside my home and church. it’s like i was cocooning. and i think i kind of knew i was doing it. my house seemed safe. yesterday morning i prayed i’d be (gently) pushed outside my comfort zones.
and sure enough yesterday made me realize how even being in your own home won’t shield you from frustrations, fears, and the need and beauty of knowing your neighbors. yesterday morning the boys noticed a truck in front of our house and got all excited. a little while later i noticed a guy kind of lurking around and a couple minutes later he knocked on the door. what followed was the guy’s sorry routine as a supposed comcast employee who just needed to get in my yard. during the incident i kept wavering between freaking out and wanting to give the guy a few tips that might make his attempts a bit more believable. later, the cops and my neighbors agreed that the guy had guts for scoping out a house so brazenly. i come to find out my neighbors (one whom i hadn’t met) were watching and saw what happened and were also able to share some information with the police. then the neighbors and i had a great discussion about looking out for each other and knowing one another in an area of town that tends to get hit with burglaries.
and so i was indeed pushed. and it made me realize how God can answer a prayer within hours (shady “comcast” guy episode breaking me out of my cocoon) or months (job search, ahem).