We came home from China last week to this little note in our mail. I’m convinced that the stamp cost more money than the sliver of paper the anonymous someone printed this note on to send us.
At first I was kinda rattled. Because um….”Move your picnic table” and “Clean up yard” and “IT COULD BE VERY PRETTY.”
I guess there was a storm while we were gone, so there were some big sticks and branches in the yard. Maybe I should have made my kids pull out the “fort” that they made from poking sticks directly into the ground before we left. And I’ll be honest and say that the bush my giant dog has peed on and killed has probably bothered me for a bit too. So I’ll give you those few things. Our yard isn’t exactly perfect.
Who does that? Who types a note on a tiny sliver of paper and MAILS it and doesn’t even sign it?
For the love people!!! Sweet Fancy Moses, can I please get an amen on this?! Who does that?
And therein lies the entire reason that I have a turquoise picnic table in my front yard.
God created people to be relational. We have minds and voices and capacity to communicate, and somewhere along the way, we have forfeited real relationship for a sliver of paper with an opinion in 140 characters or less.
I basically just got mailed a mean tweet.
Maybe you’ve had one on Facebook, or Instagram, or twitter yourself? Perhaps someone has split you open anonymously or unconnected to you in just a few words tossed out without relationship.
Listen, I’ve got NO problem if my yard is a disaster and a neighbor comes by and says, “Hey, what’s been going on in your life, seems like maybe you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. Can I help you pick up the sticks in your yard this afternoon?”
America…WE HAVE GOT A PROBLEM, and it starts with the fences around our yards. No you know what…it starts with the fences around our hearts.
Since when have we become so insulated that we can’t picnic in the front yard, or talk to a person if there is an issue? I remember growing up and no one had a fence. But then a few years ago we lived in a neighborhood where every single house had a teeny tiny front yard and a fenced-in back yard. If we had allowed it, we could have lived our whole lives inside that fence in the back. We could have avoided the neighbors and stayed in our insulated little fenced bubble.
But life is better when we share it with other people.
I remember a few years ago there was a big storm when we lived in our old house. The neighbor across the street had just had heart surgery and her husband was helping take care of her when she was recovering. A huge pine tree fell across their driveway and we noticed it before they did. So my kids grabbed their gloves and my husband grabbed his chainsaw and our family had removed 3/4 of that tree before they even knew we were there. I have never been thanked more profusely or for such a length of time as from that one act of kindness. Truly years later, she still has written about that on holiday cards.
Listen, I’m not always that neighbor…and my current ones would tell you that while they for sure have access to my pantry (Kimberly makes use of that access most often), I’m not always outside making friends or picking up sticks elsewhere. But can’t we all try better to actually care about the PEOPLE who live around us more than we care about 140 characters of mailed criticism to someone who is out of the country at a wedding in China the week they have a book launch? Can’t we try to get to know one another a bit so perhaps we will cut each other some slack or have a glass of wine on the porch when we know we’re all overwhelmed? Let’s not just be better neighbors…let’s try to be more graceful people.
So to the mailed tweeter…here’s what I have to say to you:
I’m sorry my yard was somehow offensive to you. But what I’m even sorrier about is that you haven’t had a glass of lemonade with me at the picnic table I intentionally leave in my front yard and have ZERO plans of moving to the back. I’m sorry you felt that you couldn’t make friends with us, or maybe you’re afraid of my giant dog and didn’t want to walk up the lawn because you thought he might eat you. He won’t. But next time dear neighbor, will you just let me know if there’s a problem in person? Will you offer to help us if it seems perhaps things look out of hand in our yard? Will you ease a burden for the overwhelmed instead of creating a new one? And will you tell me your name? Will you be a real person for me and remember that I am a real person too? If we can try this, you know what I think…I think IT COULD BE VERY PRETTY!
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.” – Psalm 23:5
So, because my cup overflows, and in honor of my neighbor who doesn’t understand me, but who I truly do hope will come have lemonade with me at the Turquoise Table in my front yard, I’m going to give away a turquoise table for one lucky reader! Because by the way, that table in my front yard, it isn’t just my table, it’s part of an entire movement of Turquoise Tables started by my dear friend Kristen Schell who says, ““The Turquoise Table has led to a movement of Front Yard People — a movement of people, just like you and me, who want to create community right where they live.”
There are Turquoise Tables in over 27 states and 3 countries and Kristin reminds us that “People are longing for a place to belong–a place to be welcome at the table and the turquoise table provides a simple place to love those God has placed right in front of us.”
Let’s be people who build community, instead of send tweets in the mail or online that tear one another down? FOR CRYING OUT LOUD…lets make lemonade with the lemons…and then sit in a front yard and share it together.
TO enter to win your Turquoise Table (a $120 value), let me know how you think a sense of community could improve your neighborhood, and how you could use a table in your front yard to help! ONE winner will be selected for the table, and THREE lucky winners will receive a copy of the Turquoise Table watercolor print pictured above! Extra entries will be granted for social media shares of the contest! Winners will be randomly selected.
**CONGRATULATIONS to Christy Cannon who won the Turquoise Table! And to Laura Gazzaway, Janice Nisly, and Caroline Teselle who all won copies of the Romans 12:13 Turquoise Table Art Print!
Part of my heart and a topic we explore in my new book, Curious Faith, is how our Tiny Yeses of obedience can change the world around us. Start with a table in the front yard…or maybe even as small as sending 140 characters that makes someone’s day instead of messes with it.
I’d love to invite you into the journey of how a Curious Faith can not only change our perspective on today, but it can open possibility for tomorrow! Available at booksellers everywhere! And to view the Curious Faith Study Guide videos hop over HERE!
CLICK ON YOUR FAVORITE TO BUY IT NOW AT THE FOLLOWING RETAILERS!