I love walks. I love the smell of fresh flowers, old leaves, and food cooking in various kitchens. (Especially tamales. Dang, I want one now.)
Wind on my face, the gentle scuffle of my feet on pavement, and neighborhood noises immerse the senses. Stray dogs offer another bouquet of smells, but that’s another story.
As healing as my San Diego walks can be, they sit in the shadow of multiple barriers: Pit bulls and Chihuahuas, pronounce me unwelcome. Fences above the legal height loom ominous and thick locks drive the point home:
YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IN MY CASTLE.
Okay, so how about a little history?
When soldiers came home, victorious from WWII to build suburbia it was designed to be a self-sustaining unit. No longer did you need your neighbor. You were a self made man! Empty space was moved from the front yard to the back yard where you could recline alone. Over time, front porches shrunk or even disappeared. Now, In many neighborhoods, people drive into garages, never talking to a soul. This self-reliance has not only become a symptom of a problem, it contributes to our crippling loneliness.
As a result Americans have become notoriously isolated.
Studies around 1970 found 11-20% of Americans admitted to feeling lonely. In 2010 AARP did a study and found that 40-45% of Americans felt lonely. As tall walls beget loneliness, loneliness begets depression.
So is it better to be lonely than hurt?
The Bible would tell you otherwise. Proverbs 27:6 even tells you the wounds of a friend are GOOD!
Check these other verses.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
Friends, I truly believe God wants you in Christian community. You WILL have your heart broken. There WILL be misunderstandings, but you will be as God has created you to be. You will also find joy that only comes from knowing others and being known as you should be.
So friends, may we lower our bridges, lock up our dragons, (Yapping dogs) and forsake our kingdoms for the Kingdom of God. You need your neighbors and they need you. We need you.
You got this.