Today is Halloween. As I sit here in my Mustard outfit beside our Hotdog dachsador waiting for Ketchup to get home, I can’t help but be reminded of an amazing thing called community. Every year we were in Nashville, we eagerly awaited Trunk or Treat night at our church. Hundreds of church members would deck themselves and their cars out to welcome folks from the neighborhood. It was always fun to see who everybody picked to dress up as. We saw everyone from Justin Beiber to Flo, the Progressive Insurance Lady, to paper dolls to Prince William and Princess Kate (that was us last year). This year, we are experiencing Halloween as adults in a different way. People will come to our home and we will hand out candy. But we will still be surrounded by community. God’s been reminding me a lot about His own community since moving to a new one.
When we moved here this go around, we were grateful that we still had a few friends and family left in the area, but were nervous about starting all over again. We are still in the beginning stages of getting re-acclimated, but we’ve already had people, who were perfect strangers to us just three months ago, reach out to make sure we know that there is a spot for us here in this conglomeration of people. You see, they were in the spot that we are just a couple years ago only they didn’t know anybody at all. When you’ve been at your loneliest, you start to be very aware of those that might just feel the same way you did once. Our sisters and brothers in the Lord who have gone out of their way to include us have given testimony that each believer fits in the body of Christ no matter who they are or where they come from. Why is it so hard for the rest of us to remember that sometimes? Why do we treat people as misfits when they have a spot that was made for them to perfectly fit into?
I had lunch today for the first time with my Nashville Pastor’s sister, who lives just down the street from us. I texted her niece, my friend Marianne, and told her that their family’s hospitality just keeps on following us. A mutual friend connected us because she wanted me to know another wonderful member of the community of Christ in our area. It just so happens that when we first started visiting our church in Tennessee, Marianne was the very first person my age to reach out to me and make me feel welcome. A big reason why we ended up at our church there was because of the kindness of her family. In turn, we were able to be a part of a wonderful congregation of people who truly cared for each other and their neighbors. We may never have known the warmth of that church family if it hadn’t been for the hospitality of their family. Here we are again, only this time we are in Virginia experiencing a warm handshake from the same family- not just because they’re part of the same blood line, but because they’re all washed by the same blood.
Well, hotdog and I have had several batches of trick or treaters come in search of some tasty morsels. The lamps are lit to welcome them to receive a gift from a perfect stranger. I can’t help but wonder why so many of us let our hearts stay under lock and key when we have the chance to turn our porch lights on and warmly open up to masked or unmasked faces alike who are just looking for the sweetness of life. Oh, the sweet name and love we have to share. As for me, I hope the porch light of my soul is always turned on as a welcoming gesture to let people know that there is a spot for them just like there’s one for me in the community of Christ.