We asked them for advice.
Years ago they lived in a similar neighborhood in Kalamazoo, and they remembered the times their parents called asking, "So, how's Beruit?"
In what could have become hours of conversation had to be boiled down to a few minutes walking out of the sanctuary. With big smiles they answered my question, "Don't get too attached to your earthly possessions."
Two weeks later, we are out a bike and a new lawn mower.
People in desperate situations do desperate things, and when I'm the one who left the garage door open overnight, I have a hard time getting angry about that. But it would have been nice if they first mowed our desperate looking field of dandelions before taking off.
The very next day there were electricians, carpet installers, moving trucks, pizza, and friends we are now further indebted too.
We were excited, yes. Since last October I have wanted this house more than anything I saw on Zillow. But suddenly it felt like it was all happening so fast - this moving into a neighborhood on all metaphorical margins of society.
It wasn't the day we signed over everything but our fingernails to the bank that had me unsettled. It was the first night we slept in our new house that I finally thought, "There's no turning back now."
Husband echoed my insecurities in the dark. "We're really doing this, huh?"
It's one thing to leave a garage door open and have things taken from you.
But what about our hearts, Lord?
For six years, mobility has been our goal. Move to Guatemala, to Chicago, to Milwaukee. Rent apartments. Know that getting attached will also mean getting your heart ripped open when you once again have to say goodbye.
But the past four days I have been unpacking, and even my mascara and tweezers were put in an actual drawer instead of a portable makeup bag.
We are really doing this, huh, Lord? What will happen if we leave our hearts open to our neighborhood, to our school, to the people who frequent the soup kitchen behind our house?
Will they just take, take, take? The kids who keep showing up at our door, wanting to come inside to play? The neighbor who so sweetly told us we "better keep the sh*t picked up off our lawn?"
In every major decision I've made, my dad has always been the one to say, "Count the cost."
Looking back, I think it would have been just as accurate to say, "List all the things you're afraid of losing when you choose to follow Jesus." Discipleship will always cost us something. Our plans, our safety, our time. But really, our fear. Husband and I have made that mental list of the things we know could be taken from us at anytime. Some things I don't even dare whisper out loud.
And yet, every which way we turn there is another kind neighbor smiling, "Welcome." There is a city inspector asking us "Why here?" so many times that we have the opportunity to share where our true hope and security come from. There is a friend saying things like, "Can we walk through each room of your new home and pray for you?"
Christ was from the margins. Can anything good come out of Nazareth?
He spent much of His time on the margins. Eating with tax collectors and sinners.
And He commanded us to show mercy to the marginal Samaritans of our time. Go and do likewise.
Forfeiting the world to gain our soul in Christ is worth every single sacrifice we could ever make. And if we are constantly worried about what might be taken from us, we will forget what we were first so freely given. That God so loved this world, He so loved you and me, and He so loved our neighborhoods, that He gave us His Son.
That is worth the risk of rooting down, of investing in the people right around us.
Even if the garage should be left shut tight, seeing Christ in the face of those I have always been too quick to label "the least" is worth leaving our hearts wide open.
Grace and Peace,