By Katie Delp I was digging through my purse for a tube of lipstick while simultaneously reciting instructions to the babysitter. Our friends were outside, ready for a night out, and I was hurrying out the door.
I bent down for quick good-bye kisses when there was a soft knock on the door. Six year old Nicole* fidgeted on our porch, mumbling, “I need to tell Mr. Jeff I’m sorry.”
A time to apologize.
A week prior, Nicole had lied to my husband about throwing trash in our yard. After talking to her, Jeff told her she wouldn’t be able to play on our porch (in our very popular hammock) until she apologized for her actions. After several grueling days eyeing the other kids swinging in the hammock, Nicole and Jeff were finally having an important conversation. We left her all smiles in the hammock.
Making our way off the porch and into the driveway, we spied eight year old Eric* across the street. Seeing my outfit, he hollered, “Are you going to a funeral, Ms. Katie?”
A time to laugh.
Mistaking my black cocktail dress for funeral attire brought a quick chuckle to all of the adults (and probably speaks to my lacking fashion sense).
A time to apologize. A time to laugh.
Our years of intentionally living in South Atlanta have been full of small, meaningful exchanges like these with Nicole and Eric. Living together with those we seek to serve means our lives rub up against each other.
We make mistakes. We encounter each other in unexpected moments. We sit on the porch and witness the mundane, as well as the monumental, in each others’ lives. We laugh together.
Each of these moments are teachable. We’re always learning more about how to live together and how to love each other well. It’s not the big, ribbon-cutting moments that build our community relationships, but these everyday encounters that interweave our lives together.
Getting into the car that evening, I am reminded of God’s command to love our neighbor. These two experiences, back-to-back and in between my walk from the door to the car, nurture joy in my heart as we try to live out those important words.