Home > Life, Maybe there IS a God..., Spirituality/Religion > Merry Christmas, My Little ‘Hood…

Merry Christmas, My Little ‘Hood…

Who would ever have thought I’d become a suburban housewife? NOT ME!! Thus, I chalk up another point on the scoreboard for the “Never Say Never” adage…

These days I live on a cul-de-sac of about a dozen houses in west-central Florida. My inner liberal-conservationist-free spirit just shakes its head at me and I must avert my eyes as the various chemical-spraying companies do their thing to keep my home from being overrun by multi-legged crawling things and make my grass just-so-green as to match the other lawns as mandated by the Homeowner’s Association. The back woods New Englander in me mutters knowingly, “ayuh, I knew you’d sell out”….

But as each day passes, I find more ammunition to defend my decision to be here. On December 18th my grass is still just as green and I putter around the house in my shorts and bare feet. The world is quiet around me, almost as quiet as my little house in Vermont, save for an occasional airplane overhead. I’ve come to love the sound of the planes powering down as they approach the Tampa airport. I hear the subtle noises of the day that most of the office-goers never hear. So do my dogs, as they leap up at every little squeak and jostle of palm trees against the windows. In the late afternoon after school gets out the noises change to shouts, screams, bouncing balls, and laughter.

The best, if most unexpected, payoff has been the coming together of a group of neighbors on the last Friday of each month. We call it “Happy Hour” (though it has never lasted less than 4 hours) and we gather with various sumptuous noshes and whatever beverages suit our taste. Everyone on our street is welcome, but the primary group seems to have distilled itself down to about 5 or 6 households. We are diverse in our family make-ups, our politics and religions, yet we have found in each other the most important qualities of common appreciation for each other’s circumstances and journeys, along with the depth of experience that each has to offer as together we raise up a new generation of children in our “village”.

In the spirit of Christmas, I will boldly say that this group of people, this unexpected fellowship of souls, has become my church. We don’t talk about scripture (much) nor try to win others to our way of viewing the world, but at the heart of our community is the spirit I believe was intended with the birth of Jesus Christ.

Of all the gifts in the world, I could not ask for a greater one than the acceptance and sense of purpose I feel within my own little neighborhood. May we all experience this love for those around us in the year to come….

Merry Christmas, my little ‘hood……I can’t imagine the grass being greener anywhere else.

  1. December 22, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    A heart-warming essay Ellen…thanks for sharing another little piece (the big piece really – community) of your world…best, Darren

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