The weather has been so pretty lately and everything suddenly turned very, very green. Our neighborhood (and most posts in general) seems to transform you back to the 50s and front porch America where people would sit out at night and visit with the neighbors while their kids played in the yard or in the street. That is what we have here and it's so nice. We can't help but think: "This is what family should be like." And this IS our family-our military family you've all heard us talk about. Let us explain...
First off, here at Ft. L. we have been blessed with very kind and sweet immediate neighbors in our duplex. This makes it so nice when we might have an upset child you can hear through the walls or 3-4 kids rushing up the stairs sounding like a thunderstorm..the next day it will be their children and we just laugh it off. Then there are the fun, front door conversations where the other mom and I are leaning out our front doors chit-chatting about something. Oh, and the added bonus of when one of us makes a dessert, nearly half of it automatically goes to the neighbors on the other side of the duplex for a treat. We all share toys in the front yard. We watch out for each others' kids in the street. We see each other every day.
This is the neighborhood where in half a block, with 12 duplexes, there are over 50 children. Where a child can go to nearly any door with an owie and that mom will doctor them and give them a bandaid as if they were their own child. Moms will hand out popsicles to her kids and her neighbors' kids. Daddies carry others' kids home when they may have fallen off their bikes. If a neighbor needs to run to the commissary for something (literally 2 blocks away), she swings by our yard where one of her kids is playing and says "I'll be right back, can Susie keep playing in your yard while I'm gone?" And, of course she can! And before Susie's mom drives away she yells "Do you need me to pick you up anything?" A friend might say "I made a ton for supper tonight, why don't you join us" at the last minute and, of course, it's great because you'll do the same thing for them next week. Oh, and there's also the "I'm running to the store for a minute, wanna come?" or "Wanna go for a walk?".
This is our military family. We have been spoiled by having been part of wonderful military families in various places. We were literally in culture shock when we lived in a civilian world for 3 years because it was not like this at all. It took us over a year to make good friends, and even a little longer to make some that we'd consider our "family"-we did finally make those few friends though (They know who they are). We also had many good acquaintances in our church family. As we have moved all these times, some of our "family" drifts away, but with each move we add a few more members that will stick with us forever.
Thirteen years ago I (Kathy) never thought I'd say this, but I am so, very thankful for the experiences we've had. I am a very, very shy and insecure person by nature so moving and starting afresh is ALWAYS a challenge for me. At times I have a choice, but other times the Army has forced me to break away from my little box of a world and reach out to people. People I otherwise would never have met. Maybe even people I wouldn't have spoken to had we not been shoved together in our Army world. Or even, dare I say it, people that some wouldn't talk to at all...
It has also made us stronger. So much stronger. I CAN do things. (Phil 4:13) I can change a flat, change a wax ring on a toilet, paint the house, mow the yard, take all 4 of my kids to Walmart or even dr. appts. I can be flexible with schedules, and change plans at the last minute (and do often!) Even if a neighbor would watch all 4 of my children, I still will take them for errands and do these things with them often. I CAN and I do and I enjoy it. God has given me amazing abilities and it feels so wonderful to be able to use those.
As a family, we can step out of our comfort zone and meet new people and talk to people from countries or religions we know nothing about. We can be a light to the world as we are called to do!! If you only stay within your little circle of a world, you miss out on those opportunities. How can you reach the lost if you are only around people who are "saved" or who call themselves "christians". Sure, you can donate to a cause or volunteer at a church program once a week, but that is the easy road. Are you trying to meet new people each week? Do you talk to the person in line with you at the grocery store? Do you offer to help someone carry their groceries? Do you look for opportunities to serve strangers? We're not talking about volunteering at church or some social group. Strangers...on the street or in the store. Do you?
So, in our military life we have been truly blessed in our experiences. We have made friends, lost friends, been challenged, and learned lessons that we will take with us forever. We are thankful for our world, our "family"...our mission field.
"..for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:.."