My dad has decided to redo our front garden as it hasn’t seen any major changes/work in >20 years. I don’t think he knows what the long-term plan is for what we will put there, but the first job has been to pull everything up, including 7 trees/bushes. So I’ve spent my last week digging, sawing, shoveling and pulling up stumps. (We are currently at 4.5 done, 2.5 to go.)
And I’ve loved it. Normally I’m not much of a ‘dirt’ person, but I’ve been out there in sun and rain, getting dirt in my hair and mouth and shoes and everywhere. I’ve loved how physically exerting it is and the time I’ve spent out there with my dad. But I think my favourite part has been how it has made me interact with our neighbours.
In our neighbourhood, interactions are generally limited to the coincidental ones, like when someone is checking their mailbox when someone else returns home. It’s not so much that there is intentional avoiding, but more that there just isn’t really a lot of intentional interaction. And given how much time people spend either inside their homes or not at home there aren’t lots of those opportunities.
But over the last week I’ve spent more time in our front yard than I think I ever have. I’ve waved to couples walking their dog, had a chat with the postie, interacted with the grandparents of the family next door, watched the workmen renovating the house across the road, seen school kids walking home at the end of the school day, had offers of help from neighbours, noticed just how busy how little street can be.
And it’s made me wonder just how much we miss when we live inside our own bubbles. It feels like I’ve been stepping outside of my bubble a bit this last week, and there is so much that I would have missed if I hadn’t. I don’t know what the solution is, I don’t even know whether many people would consider it a problem, but I think I’d like to continue spending time outside of my bubble, seeing what’s going on around. And maybe even starting to spot where God is present and at work.