We’ve been fellowshipping with these young people from church the past two days. On Monday we had a get together at Tara’s and last night we had our kick-off small group get together. Way fun. Our kids loved it too. And after eating awesomely good cheeseburgers (at least they tasted awesome because I was starving!) We played a make-shift bocce ball game in the park across the street. Chris the third Reich took these pictures of us crammed on our front porch. The fellowship took turns toward church tradition, worship, secular music with redemptive qualities, and what/when salvation took place in our lives. It’s funny to those of us raised in the church that you can speak of these things in a safe way while drinking margaritas on a Tuesday night. It reminds me of the small group I was in at 22 and how fertile the ground was for integrating a comfortable, feast-like get together with many talks of the Spirit, prayer, family, relationships, sex, pop culture and life calling. It’s what community is all about. It isn’t pleasant to sit in a cold Sunday school room and try to get to know each other. If I can be the one who opens my home to people in the “after college-early career-before marriage-early marriage” category and give them a homey place that isn’t ‘Mom and Dads’ I’ll gladly take that role.
Now on the flip-side I’ve had to address some neighborhood kids this past weekend that I was hoping wouldn’t be this uncomfortable.
You all have heard me gripe before about my former neighbors kids, my concerns etc. They were very very harmless and had a great family so my woes were short lived and few. The group that is in our jolly new neighborhood is a little tougher, but still, the children are fun and I’m not worried about our relationship in the long run. But on Sunday I had a little bit of a tough pow-wow with the three siblings from down the street. Two girls, 5 and 7, and a boy 10. They would ring our bell pretty much every evening, I do not have a problem with that. I know when to say no. But on Sunday they took it up a notch. Four times in three hours they rang my bell. My kids were napping. They were quite demanding that Joel fix the boy’s bike chain. We were drawing a line and decided that day was not the day to spend with the neighbor kids. The fourth time I had to use some very stern statements:
“Why??” “because I said No Jalen.” “But why?”
“Why??” “because I said No Jalen.” “why?”
“Hun, go home. Get your Mom or Dad to fix it, we’re not coming out today”
Jada (she’s 5) “Is that your baby crying?”
“Guys, go home. It’s going to be hard for us to be friends if you can’t listen when I say we can’t come out to play. Do you understand?”
“I said no, go home guys!”
I felt so flustered and a little ashamed that I lost it on three little children. But Joel reassured me that even if I spoke too many words for them to make sense of the situation they would probably not have any hard feelings and come and play with all of us eventually. And we’re not the only ones, they go from door to door asking my neighbors for help, if they have kids, if they can swing on the hammock, if they can water the flowers. Anything. They are so curious and I don’t want their spirits to be squashed, but having a 10 year old boy try to manipulate me with “why’s” makes me crazy!! It makes me so nervous about teaching too, I can’t lose my cool on my students. Oh Lord, give me grace!