We are not a bicycle riding people.
Pumpkin is horribly afraid she is going to fall off so she rides her bike with a death grip and mostly walks it up the “hills.” Only this is Texas. “Hill” is a relative term that basically indicates a slight rise in the road.
Skillet wants to ONLY ride the “hills” because he wants to go fast. So he’ll ride down and then get off, walk it back up, and ride it down again. When we can convince him to, you know, actually ride towards a destination (like the park), he goes lightening fast.
That leaves Grandma Pumpkin in the dust.
Sooooo…I return to my original statement. We are not bicycle riding people.
But at the beach?
So many bicycle riding people.
Hundreds of colorful, adorable bicycles are rented for $60 a week a piece or $20 a day because, truly, it’s faster than a car. The traffic on 30A goes so slowly, thanks to all the pedestrians and bikes, it makes more sense to just ride the bike.
At night, the bikes are left in front of houses in actual piles. There’s no order or an attempt to park them in a line or in a driveway or even off the sidewalk. The walkways and roads overflow with bikes of every color and size. Some with the most adorable baskets and training wheels. Some with precious caboose’s for Littles to ride in. Even bikes built for two.
Some much absolutely delightfulness.
As we were walking home after a night of crab hunting on the beach, one of the houses near our’s had their entire front yard, including sidewalks and the driveway and the steps, piled high with bikes.
I heard someone walking near us say, “Goodness. How rude. They just covered the sidewalk with bikes.” And then we all walked around on the road.
Y’all. We had to WALK AROUND.
It was awful.
Seconds before I heard that person, I had been thinking this, “Goodness. How awesome! They have a house full of people!”
A zillion bikes? Equals a zillion people.
A house full of PEOPLE. No empty chairs. Likely, not empty floor space. Full of laughter and stories and hopefully, good food.
Two very different perspectives on the exact same situation.
I actually commented on the difference. How interesting, I said! I see overflowing blessings and that person saw overflowing inconsiderateness.
And that thought stuck with me for days. Two perspectives.
This difference in them? Well, it might just be how we REALLY view the people in our lives.
Are people an inconvenience? Blocking our path? Annoyances to get around?
Or are people the blessing? Actually part of our path? A goodness to embrace?
Quiet, calm nests with plenty of seating? Or loud, full nests with people to navigate?
And the more I thought about it and prayed about it and processed it, I realized that moment of me seeing the bikes as the blessing?
That was not normal for me.
Normally? I’d have totally seen the people on those bikes (not to mention the bikes themselves) as an inconvenience.
Let’s blame my momentary optimism on vacation.
But this started to feel like part of the same path God has me on with redeeming home and belonging. Tuesday’s post on having multiple homes, multiple nests. And the things I’m working through on how people and yes, Jesus, fit into my evolving concept of home.
It’s all the SAME.
And, honestly, I don’t know what to do about it. So many messages, so many sacred echoes, so much restlessness in my soul.
Here’s what I do know: I want to be a front yard person. (That’s a Today Show clip on the movement)
I want to know my neighbors. I want real community on my street, in my church, with my kids’ classmates.
But how do I become a Front Yard Person?
Because I also know my nature is to sit in the quiet. Inside my own home. Where there is air conditioning. And plenty of empty seats.
I also know I am a researcher and information gatherer. I can blissfully read and study and learn ABOUT a topic without ever actually doing anything with that new knowledge.
So, literally, I can sit inside my cool house, reading books and blogs and watching videos and testimonials but never actually BECOME anything other than exactly what I already am.
Which is super-duper comfortable.
Unfortunately, what I also know? God does not call us to places of comfort.
Not Moses, not Deborah, not David, not Ester, not Mary, not Peter nor Paul nor Thomas.
If He called us only to the places where we felt most at home and safe, we would never have to lay down our lives for Him. Never change a single thing about our hearts. Never have to become a new creation in Him. We could just go on being comfortable. And just maybe slightly fearful of all the people we don’t know and don’t think we understand and who don’t live like we do.
Home and belonging and multiple nests and people and Jesus. Colliding.
God placed me (and you) exactly where we are on purpose. You have the neighbors He selected for you. The co-workers He needed you to have. Your kids’ classmates, the cashier at the grocery store, the couple next to you at the infertility clinic. None of this is “by chance.” Not luck or happenstance or coincidence.
Every single second of our lives and every single person we cross paths with is there for a purpose.
And I’m not interested in pretending that’s not true anymore.
Even if that means I have to be outside, in my front yard, in the 108 degree Texas summer.
So we’re taking some steps. Like, baby ones.
When we got home from vacation, Dr. Band Geek headed to the hardware store to get the new lights we’d picked out for the front yard flower beds. He’s been working on those things for a month. Because he is awesome and I hate yard work.
I texted him just after he left and said, “Hey, while you’re there look and see if they have Adirondack chairs on sale this week. Maybe we could put a couple in the front yard.”
He promptly called me.
And apologized. Because I am not a phone talking person.
But he said, “Are you kidding? Because I JUST pinned plans on how to build Adirondack chairs.”
Yet another sacred echo.
So, I am happy to report, we have taken the first steps on our way to becoming “front yard people.”
In case you can’t tell, that is the beginnings of our front yard seating area. The two trees offer the perfect shade. Or too much shade because grass doesn’t grow there. Seems like an ordained spot for chairs.
Our yard is on a slight incline. Enough so that a table would be a bit wonky. But this spot my husband flattened out is just the right size for two or three chairs.
This view is from the road. It’s close but not too close. And shaded. Did I mention THE SHADE?
We live on a culdesac. It’s just a few doors. Should my children ever decide to ride their bikes again, we can easily see them from this spot.
I am incredibly grateful for that moment of optimism looking at those bicycles. And incredibly grateful for the person who saw them as an inconvenience.
I am grateful for the sacred echoes my Father keeps sending me. Grateful for the front yard people movement. Grateful for my neighbors and our cashiers and the people we sit next to at church and my kids’ classmates. Grateful God placed us here in the exact place He wanted us to be.
Grateful that I have been on this journey with Jesus long enough to know He can be trusted and I may not have any idea why we feel so led to start being front yard people (where it is HOT) but I know there’s a reason.
Friends, if God is speaking to you, if you have that restlessness in your spirit about something or someone, know He can be trusted. In whatever and where ever He is calling you.
Even if He uses bikes piled up on a sidewalk to do it and even if it’s only to your front yard.