// I am so blessed. I live on the opposite side of the world from where I grew up, my passport country, my home culture, and my mother tongue. But I have a dear friend, a sister of the heart, who lives next door to me. Literally one building over. Who shares my mother tongue. Who shares my experience of raising a family away from family, away from all the familiar experiences and constructs of what we grew up with personally. And she and her family have become like family to us.
Just tonight she texted a last minute invitation to come over for after-dinner donuts and visiting/playtime. Nothing formal. No worries about making the kids change out of their torn blue jeans, fix their hair, or finding something to bring as hostess gift. Just a relaxed time together, visiting about nothing in particular and with no agenda, just enjoying the gift of one another’s company.
Just being together because we aren’t just geographical neighbors, though I am so deeply grateful for our close physical proximity; we are also neighbors in vision, values, and experience. We are neighbors in struggle and in joy. In humor and in sadness. We are neighbors of the heart. //
Back on the other side of the world, in the place where I had roots that were painfully ripped up to transplant to a foreign soil, I have another neighbor of the heart. Though we could not possibly be any farther apart without one of us leaving the planet, the miles have not managed to sever our relationship. Though the distance is difficult – frustrating and lonely – the depth of our friendship has only grown. Because we are also neighbors in vision and values and even experience in so many ways despite the outward discrepancy in our current life experiences.
You don’t have to dig that deep below the surface to find the similarities in our daily life after all – the joys and struggles, hopes and fears of motherhood, homeschooling, supporting our husbands and fighting for healthy marriages, and the juggling act of it all. Learning to accept our limitations, say ‘no’ to requests that are difficult to turn down, and to find contentment in the present moment, whatever that moment looks like.
What a priceless gift, unspeakably precious, to have such companions, such beautiful, inspiring, godly, encouraging, and fun neighbors in this life…
A neighbor with a connection that extends farther into the past than the years stretch without its presence, and a connection that is far deeper than the miles that stretch it out over a persnickety phone connection.
A neighbor who bears the unlikely gift of a kindred spirit so very far from “home,” like walking through the flap of a tent in the middle of the Sahara and finding you are actually walking into your living room.
These neighbors, one close and one far away, are living in the same heart neighborhood as I am and their presence is a comfort, a help, and a joy whether we are laughing together, crying together, or borrowing eggs. I thank God for these life companions.
I am continuing on with my Write 31 Days theme of "31 Days to Slowing Down and Living More Simply" with reflections based on my reading of Emily P. Freeman's book Simply Tuesday and the prompts given at the FMFW page. My "Five Minute Free Write" portion will be enclosed with // and any extra thoughts will follow.