This evening I went on my first bike ride around our new neighborhood. Bicycle riding has been something I’ve enjoyed my entire life. It’s a great way to exercise and clear my mind. It also gets me out of the comfort of my house to see life from a different perspective.
As I road through the neighborhood becoming familiar with street names and the city layout, I could smell hamburgers grilling in the distance, I heard children laughing and a basketball dribbling, I felt the warm air breeze against my bare arms. It was magical.
I adore the warm weather, because it makes the community come alive. Children run and play from house to house. Seniors sit on their porches and drink sweet tea. Young mothers help their babies take their first steps in the front yard of their first home. Men work on their pickup trucks in driveways. Everyone you pass gives you a kind wave and asks how you’re doing. The friendliness of my neighborhood is contagious. It’s times like these that I’m proud to be an Okie.
While riding my bike down the streets, I couldn’t help but remember a quote from The Wonder Years. I used to watch Kevin Arnold as he reflected on his own childhood growing up in suburban setting. He said something along the lines of…in the midst of the big city and cookie-cutter houses in vast housing addition that look on the outside to be all the same, there are families and individuals each with a unique story.
My husband and I are so thankful to be homeowners invested in a new community. I look forward to the day when we will know each of our neighbors by name. And after that day passes, another will come when I will learn the story behind each name. I believe that each of these people with these stories is important. All of them are different, but yet, they are all the same. And my story is the same too. We are all broken individuals with a deep need for a Redeemer.
It’s so easy to pass my neighbors’ homes as I drive to work in the morning, then pass them by again coming home, only to hide all evening behind closed doors and get much needed rest alone with my family. But, bike rides remind me of the people living right next door, and the opportunity God has placed right in front of me to minister.
These are people who matter and people who need a Savior. They are people who I can invite to my church and people who can come over for LifeGroup. People who can become my very best friends and people who can change the world.
If only I step outside of the comfort of my own home, change my perspective to see the needs in my own neighborhood, open my heart to those around me, learn their names and learn their stories.