It was billed as a cookout in honor of Mother’s Day but we got rained out last weekend. Yesterday was the rain date. Everyone brought their own lawn chairs and came masked. We sat in a friendly circle, commenting on the pleasant weather and how good it was to see one another.
Family? Friends? Kind of. We were at church.
Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, small but mighty, is on Owen Brown Road in Hickory Ridge. Guided through the pandemic by a relatively new pastor, congregants emerged from isolation on a lovely May afternoon to eat hot dogs and savor the joy of being together “in real life.” That new pastor? She brought us through the storm and was at home in the circle of lawn chairs like the rest of us. We’ve grown together.
An interesting twist for me was the discovery that our church driveway is now an actual road with an official road sign and the back of our property is now home to a small community of rowhouses. Since I’ve been “away” for a year it feels as though they appeared by a magic. They didn’t, of course. There’s a long and rather complicated story as to how they got there.
But now they are there and the people who live there will be our neighbors. Who are we to say they don’t belong here? If a church can’t be welcoming, the world is a sad place indeed. This tiny little neighborhood is near the Village Center - - walkable, even - - as well as convenient to the hospital and HCC. And it’s just a quick hop to the local Lutheran Church...
Having a bunch of townhouses on the back of (what had been) church property was not what long-time members had envisioned, I’m sure. By the same token, none of us imagined going to church via computer, but, we adapted. We learned how to worship and support one another in new ways. When we are challenged by change we always have the opportunity to be our best selves.
It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
In my mind I’m toasting our new neighbors. I hope they’ll pay us a visit sometime, but, a friendly wave is fine, too. (And of course there’s our irresistible Flea Market.) Whether we meet the “new folks” or not, they are welcome neighbors. They belong. I hope they come to love this quirky little piece of real estate as much as I do. There’s enough room for us to grow together.