Well, friends. It’s done. Our front yard seating area came together like a charm.
We hosted our first get-together!
Dr. Band Geek got it all finished Saturday. I took the kids to a birthday party and while we were gone, he decided to use our ice cream maker, which has largely just been something we moved from house to house and let collect dust. We LOVE homemade ice cream. But Blue Bell is just sitting there in the freezer section. All ready to go and stuff.
But not last Saturday!
My husband ran to the store, bought all the stuff, and got to work.
I sent out a text message. Dr. knocked on a neighbor’s door. Some neighbors drove home at the exact right moment. Another stood at her door staring at us until I waved her outside.
We ended up finally calling it a night at 9 pm.
I didn’t have any plastic spoons so I had to use my flatware. And fancy paper cups with mismatched napkins. Half-way through the ice cream, a neighbor brought out some of their plastic spoons.
Y’all, I didn’t have enough but others contributed.
What our neighbors couldn’t see? The inside of my house.
Unmade beds. Toys and breakfast dishes still on the table. Maybe some dried spilled milk. I hadn’t dusted since before vacation. In fact, the kids’ suitcases were still unpacked. Mail all over the kitchen counters.
We LIVE in our house.
Especially in the summer.
But from outside the house, no one saw a thing.
Being Front Yard People frees us to live normally as Inside People.
Listen, I love having people inside my house. And if it were up to me, our house would always be company ready. Only, it’s not just me here. There are kids and the kids’ friends and husbands and his avoidance of mail. And, let’s be totally honest, I don’t always roll out of bed ready to unload the dishwasher and make the bed.
I want my kids to pull out “stuff” out of the recycle bin and build the world’s only napkin/paper cup/Bed Bath & Beyond decorated palace.
And I don’t really want to find a place to hide our waterpark bag. I wash the towels and then put them right back in the bag for the next trip.
Even the piles of mail don’t bother me. Dr. has plenty of projects he’s working on in the house on top of managing a larger-than-ever marching band program at his university. Mail-shmail.
We live in our house. We love our house. We are normal, messy, creative people and our inside reflects that.
The front yard stays cleans and neat and our real, normal life stays behind the doors.
But Front Yard activity can equal Inside change.
We ended up staying outside so late (our kids usually go to bed around 8) because one of our neighbors is without his family for almost an entire month. Which we knew. Dr. had asked him when they were both outside doing yard work.
But what we didn’t realize is how lonely he is.
Getting involved with our neighbors’ lives just might mean we have to open our front doors. Open our lives to their needs and dreams and struggles. Their mess.
Being Front Yard People means we let in the messy inside.
And maybe sharing our own messy with them.
I think most of us are just a little afraid of other people and their mess. Good mess, bad mess, really messy messes. All of it.
As much as we’re afraid of our neighbors’ mess, they are afraid of our mess. So the real question we have to answer is, it is worth the risk?
And even though I know Dr. is going to slam me for Jesus-juking this entire thing, I just have to do it.
Jesus didn’t avoid people in a mess.
He simply didn’t y’all. In fact, He kinda went straight to them. And when I look at how we live our lives, Jesus’ must be the example we follow. He has to be, friends.
Our everyday lives, our neighborhoods, our grocery stores, our nests, they are our mission field and we are each called to live lives on mission. We disobey and deny scripture when we try to live opposed to that calling.
I am crazy grateful we have started this journey. Incredibly grateful my hard-working husband is completely on board, not just in words but in actions. Grateful God graciously placed us in this amazing neighborhood with just the best neighbors. They are not hard to love. Grateful for homemade ice cream and people willing to share with us. Grateful for the support we’ve received from our people outside our neighborhood, too.
This is the good stuff of life, right? People and sharing and messes and food and seeing our everyday, ordinary nests as the mission God has placed us on. Front Yard People. Grateful.