Thursday, September 13, 2007
While our neighbor was painting our house a few months ago, his little daughter, Natalie, came over to watch him paint. My girls were asleep, so Natalie busied herself with the toys in the back yard and started riding Amber's bicycle. As I looked out the back window, I thought, "How cute. I'm glad she's riding the bike." Then Natalie zoomed around the corner and disappeared, and I thought, "Well, I hope she doesn't think she can keep Amber's bike!"
Yikes! Where did that though come from? It certainly isn't the mindset I want to have. Rather, I want to have a giving mindset and a heart that is open to sharing my things (really, God's things) with others. That really is where my heart is, so why do I sometimes slip back into the "mine" mentality? I think it's because I was (as we all were) born that way--with a selfish heart--and society has done a lot to reinforce that selfish thinking.
I am trying to combat my natural selfish tendency by reminding myself that everything I own is God's anyway and I need to share what I have with others. I want to live in community with those around me, especially my neighbors. Recently we hung up a tire/disc swing in the front yard and it was my desire to see everyone in the neighborhood use it, and to show my daughter, Amber, firsthand about community. The first people that walked by the swing while we were all out front, were complete strangers--a family out on an evening walk. But we invited them into our yard anyway. Eric pushed the little girl on the swing and we told them they could swing on it and play on the slide in our front yard anytime. I thought to my self, "Now this is community. This is what I long for in a world of "ours verses theirs."
The swing has brought us much closer to the two young families that live next door. Many evenings, the "girls" (as Amber calls them) come over after supper to take turns on the swing and play with Autumn on the slide. Eric and I spent hours outside one night just pushing the girls and playing the freeze game and having so much fun until it was too dark to see ourselves. It reminded me of the neighborhood I grew up in--a street that came alive with kids after supper time playing baseball, tag, marbles and riding big wheels. I think some neighborhoods have gotten away from that and I was so happy to "bring it back" to our street.