September 21, 2004
Walking the Big Picture
This summer, early June, I was on a walk with Hannah (that would be my black lab) in our neighborhood. About 2½ blocks from our house Hannah and I met some new neighbors. They were planting some lovely bushes on the side of their house next to a cute fence. I commented on their pretty bushes and ended up striking up a conversation with the woman who lived in the house. She told me where she had bought the bushes and what a great deal they were in price. When asked about the location of the green house where she had gone, she quickly ran inside her house to get the calendar with the number on it.
I was pleased, as I love to have a good place to go for lovely plants and bushes at a price I can afford. Later in the conversation, the woman told me that she and her husband were hoping that the bushes would grow tall quickly. She pointed to the yard next door and commented on how the folks didn’t keep up their yard to the standards that they would like…as a result the neighbors on both sides of this house were planting bushes to separate their yards from this yard that had some needs.
My only experience of that house was on walks with Hannah. The children in that house were Asian and they always wanted to pet Hannah. They were often playing hopscotch or front yard games. Our conversations were short and pleasant. A couple of weeks following my conversation with the bush planters, I noticed that the yard next door had improved…there was still some needs, but indeed some changes had been made.
I wondered what the reaction was of their neighbors…was it enough? My eyes often fell not on the lawn, but rather the house blinds that were usually catywamphis in the front window. So, all summer long I wondered about the relationship between these neighbors.
Last week when Hannah and I were walking, the beautiful sidewalk colored chalk pictures in front of the house, whose lawn was in need and blinds a skewed, struck me. There were three sidewalks with chalk colored pictures of: the sun and sky, the moon and stars, and the trees and grass. I thought immediately about the children and how big their minds and hearts were…and where they were focusing their energy.
This humbled me and I found myself escaping my small adult judgmental mind/world and entered the bigness of their world. Who needs to care about the lawn or the blinds if you have the sun and the moon, and the trees filling your sidewalks?
My mind went to the words of Jesus, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:1-5