I am all about personal adventures. Let's hike that trail, drive to that new knit shop several hours away, go to that food truck rally someone posted about on Facebook! But when it starts involving other people, my social awkwardness kicks into high gear and I start back-pedaling rapidly to escape. The variable of introducing another human being into the equation makes my logical brain hurt, and all I can see are the little italicized imaginary scenarios that are standing between me and a tidy, predictable answer.
But on Sunday I realized that the fear of the unknown was keeping me from making the best use of what I do know. For example: there's a woman at our church who I've enjoyed speaking with, the few times we've interacted - there are a lot of unknowns, but I do know she's a stay at home mom with a daughter Brooklyn's age and a son who's a few months younger than Tobin.
So I took a deep breath and messaged her, and we ended up meeting at the park this morning. Our little girls played, our little boys looked at each other quietly, and we talked a little (between rescuings and reelings-in of the overly adventuresome), and we're going to try to meet again. Now I wish I'd reached out sooner - and wonder why I assumed that the equation would turn out badly, instead of well.
After borrowing One Zillion Valentines from the library, Brooklyn wanted to make valentines for the neighbors, like Marvin and Milton do in the book. So we sat down and made them - she practiced her dots and lines, and told me what color to use for the hearts, and we decided to write "you are loved" on each one and sneakily tape them to everyone's doors.
But I felt like it was important for people to know who loved them (especially since I know at least two people in our building are having relationship struggles right now, and the goal of this was to make someone's day better, not to depress them), so I wrote Romans 5:8, but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (just the reference, to comply with the anti-soliciting policy), on the back of each one. I considered John 3:16, but decided that this was less familiar and might have to actually be looked up, and no harm would come of anyone deciding to read more of Romans.
So far all but one have been collected, and no one has confronted me angrily, keyed my car, reported us to office, or anything else like that - I'm not really sure how I thought anyone could, since it was done anonymously, or why I thought anything crazy would happen, but my mind plays funny tricks with me when I step outside my comfort zone.
In the few conversations I've had with one of our downstairs neighbors, I've learned that they have a daughter Brooklyn's age and are expecting another baby in March (I've also observed that they go to church every Sunday, and we said hi at the food truck rally, which struck us both because we had also said hi as we were leaving that morning). A few knowns, more unknowns.
But I figured that all kids like knitted bears, so I made a matching pair for Big Sis and the new little one and left them, with a note, on their doorknob yesterday (I did knock, but no one answered). The bag had vanished when I walked back by a little while later, so I'm assuming they got it.
free print from Kaitlyn Bouchillon for her upcoming book, Even If Not
There are so many adventures waiting in the unknown, and I really know more than I think I do generally, if I would spend more energy on that than on creating excuses from my ignorance. "Speak out - invite others in - above all, love" is what I wrote down, moving forward from IF:Gathering, and I've been trying to actually do that rather than just leaving it to languish in my notebook. Not everything I've tried this week has gone well - admittedly, a few encounters have been downright awkward - but I want to practice using my little bits of knowledge as a reason to learn more, instead of excusing them away.
2421. An unexpected phone conversation with an out-of-state friend
2422. A warm day, to balance the crazy wind
2423. Starting my day with a bath, before Brooklyn and Tobin woke up
2424. Adam taking my car to work so he could get the oil changed
2425. Getting a pair of knitted bears finished, delivered, and off my conscience
2426. A not-too-large loan approval, and a sweet assigned realtor