community, family life

The cure for loneliness

“Two kinds of people have many friends, one with bank balance and other with boldness.” Amit Kalantri, author and magician

Martha Stewart has gotten me in trouble more than once. She just has ideas that are so … interesting. Once, I destroyed our ironing board cover mostly following her directions on how to make a “stained glass” ornament out of crayon shavings and waxed paper. (No big loss, ornament wise or ironing wise.) Another time, I made holiday drinking glasses out of hollowed-out cucumbers. Compost pile.

But, domestic goddess that she is, she has really come through at other times. I will probably never get rid of the small chalk board that sits on the front porch with chalk, an eraser and the invitation, “leave a message.” No other welcoming touch I have added to our entry has so sparked our visitors’ imaginations.

And, in such quirky ways. We’ve come home to find everything from a map as to where to meet for a play date when our daughters were young, to directions on how to care for a plant that was left as a gift, to a salesman’s encouragement to buy more insurance. Then, there was my favorite – an anonymous “Santa is watching…”

Sometimes, visitors leave some thing behind, too. When the kids were younger, we might find patent-leather shoes making the neighborhood hand-me-down circuit, the aforementioned jade plant and, once, an anonymously given box of fudge from the Big City. I ate the latter by myself. Sure, it was really well sealed. But, being anonymous and all, you can’t be too careful. Cough.

If the little chalkboard wasn’t there – openly inviting communion with our family – I’m wondering what kind of front-porch fun we might be missing. Sometimes, I guess it really does pay to put out a sign. That’s what God suggests we do, after all. It’s right there in Proverbs: The one who wants friends needs to show herself to be a friendly person first.

Could any message be more timely? Our world has become one in which it is possible to be lonely even in the middle of a tightly packed neighborhood. Yet, isolation doesn’t mean it’s time to move, just that it’s time to make a move. Try it. Put out some kind of a welcome mat. Put down your phone. Take a neighbor some cookies. Greet someone on the sidewalk or in the building elevator with a real smile.

A bit of that kind of boldness really can bring joyful friendship. And, that makes a better community for us all.

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “The cure for loneliness”

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