Well, October arrived. In a flash of 90-degree heat, neighbors, and National Night Out glory. We had a lot of food, a lot of kids not paying attention to how close they were to the storm drain, and a lot of mosquitoes who went to bed drunk that night.
I saw some article floating around the other day saying scientists have discovered how to eliminate mosquitoes. Like, wipe them from the planet. And while I don’t love those pesky things, I less love exterminating them entirely.
I mean, it’s possible they’re the appendix of the insect world. There but we don’t really know why. But it’s also possible they are serving some vital purpose we don’t fully understand. I’m totally fine killing them when they are flying near me but killing all of them off of the Earth seems a bit extreme.
I’m not fine with extreme.
The Most Ordinary of Block Parties…
In the midst of being dinner and dessert for every mosquito in a mile radius, we had a lovely time visiting with our neighbors. A couple of police officers stopped by with swag bags for the kids including sunglasses and a pen with a tiny police officer’s head on the eraser end.
Basically, every kids’ dream swag.
David and Emily brought their beautiful newborn along with Emily’s Philopino bread pockets of heaven and angel kisses.
Richard brought chips and an update on his wife’s recovery from her recent stroke.
Hector and Evette came with the swankiest lawn chairs we’d ever seen. He says they give them out when you retire and we all agreed we’d consider early retirement just to get a couple. (As if early retirement is A. An option at all and B. something we’d turn down EVER.)
Only two kids managed to injure themselves in some way. One of them was Skillet. To the surprise of no one.
We ate too much. Laughed a lot. Got to know each other a bit better.
And we did all that without a bounce house or an on-site grill master or even a playlist.
Just ordinary folding tables, a plastic tablecloth, and potluck yummies no one created a sign-up for but we had more than enough anyway.
Sometimes I think we don’t do stuff because we believe pulling off anything like a neighborhood block party will be too expensive and too much work for too little payoff. Almost like if it’s not Pinterest worthy or Insta-fancy, then what’s the point at all.
We’ve magnificently missed the point.
Because people are always the point.
I can’t imagine what scripture would look like if the four men hadn’t taken their paralyzed friend on his mat, dug a hole in the ceiling, and lowed him down right at the feet of Jesus.
Childhood Sunday School songs wouldn’t be the same without Zacheus and that sycamore tree or Father Abraham and his many sons.
How much of Jesus would we have missed without Him calling His friend, Lazarus, back to life from his grave?
Or our understanding of grace and mercy and forgiveness without the Pharisees throwing the woman caught in adultery in front of Jesus as a trap?
At some time in our lives, we have each needed people to carry us to Jesus, climbed a tree to get a higher perspective, believed God for the impossible, asked Him to bring our dead souls back to life, and needed grace, mercy, and forgiveness to redeem our visual and invisible sins.
If people weren’t the point, Jesus could have stayed exactly where He was, comfy and safe at the right hand of the Father.
But sometimes, we treat the people around us about as well as we do the mosquitoes. Swatting at them and wishing science could wipe them out of our way.
Like pesky little annoyances.
So our Gratitude Season Challenge this week…
Have a conversation with your neighbor.
Doesn’t have to be deep and meaningful or even all that long but if you haven’t talked to the people on your left and on your right lately, then you might be missing the people Jesus needs you to serve.
Living gratefully will probably have to include some awkward conversation across the street while you’re both getting your mail. Maybe complimenting her fall porch decorations. Possibly bringing dinner to a busy single mom down the street.
Jesus died to get people. We can die to our inconveniences to love them.
Let’s stop swatting them away, avoiding engaging, wishing people buzzed around you a little less, because well, you’re missing the kingdom point.
People are always the point.