The new folks. That’s who we are.
We’ve recently landed at our new assignment. We’ve met new neighbors, started “church shopping,” and still use the GPS to find our way to most places.
Getting the lay of the land can take some time, but making it a home usually takes a bit more.
This isn’t our first rodeo. In our fifteen years of marriage this is our eighth house. Each time brings new adventures, no doubt, but it’s own set of challenges as well. This time? We moved to a “civilian” area, meaning we are not close to any military installation. We’ve done this before, but it’s been a while.
Civilian life isn’t bad, just different. Our neighbors have been super nice, but it’s hard for them to understand the frequency of our moves and our distance from family. It makes for interesting conversation for sure.
What I love about it? They actually ask us: where are you coming from? What brings you here? The conversations of personal history always intrigue me. It’s been good, but I have learned a thing or two about being the “new folks.”
When we first started this military life, I would arrive at a new duty station expecting someone to welcome me, to bring me in and embrace me as their new found treasure. When they did, it was fantastic. When they didn’t, well, that wasn’t as much fun.
Over the years I have learned that to have good neighbors we must be good neighbors.
Laying on them the expectations of neighborly hospitality when I have no idea what is going on in their life is a bit too much. I love when they embrace us, but have found that sometimes we are here to love on them and not the other way around.
So when we are the new folks in the ‘hood, how do we BE good neighbors? Here are some thoughts:
- Step outside your door – whether you sit on the front porch, do some yardwork, or take a walk through the neighborhood, being outside means you meet folks. That’s a good thing.
- Do the inviting – if you’re waiting for someone else to have you over for coffee, they may be waiting as well. Step out there, be brave, and invite them.
- Take notice – Are their trashcans blowing in the wind? Maybe they’re cleaning out the gutters on their house. Are you able to help? This is a great opportunity to make friends.
- Be patient – Sometimes we meet folks right away and hit it off. We become friends in a heartbeat. Most of the time, though, it takes time to make friends. Know that God has picked out friends for you already.
Whether you are new to the neighborhood or others are the new folks, someone has to take the first step in building friendships. It might as well be you – and what a blessing it will be.