Tag Archives: neighborhood

crossing the street to find your way home | thoughts on “the hundred-foot journey”

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 9.54.05 PM

Our greatest fear, of course, is that we might be viewed as in some way similar to the “them” to our “us”. We’ve worked desperately for centuries now at defining clearly and bloodily who we are with and with whom we are not. Who we are like and who we are not like. And when the “us” and “them” becomes less theoretical and more the new next-door neighbor, less conversation and more colleague, less hypothetical and more here-and-now, we find our heart-pounding pulse and back-of-the-neck skin overrun with the fast-beating terror that there is no longer enough space between us and them.

In terror and anxiety, thus in our most not-yet moments, we move on anxieties and insist certain actions that involve thinking, moving and working in ways which keep the lines clear, humans separated, and enemies inhumane are needed. We have to keep the peace by keeping the road as clear barrier between our home and theirs, and the hundred-foot journey in between.  

But once in a while, perhaps because we have a kind of holy blood in us because we are human, we can’t help ourselves. We cross the street, take one-hundred steps, (counted in fury and scheming at one point and now counted in calm humility and prayerfulness), and appear at the front door of the other, the non-separate, the human beings across the street. The front door of his home, bearing witness to his family and their dreams, their hopes, their stories, their legacies, their fears, their burdens and their dirty spots. We appear at the front door, newly-terrified and deeply-anxious, but already too far across the street, already there, already one-hundred steps too many in to turn around.

So we meet our neighbors. We learn their names. We hear their stories. We sing their songs. We sit at their tables and we eat their meals. 

And absent-minded of our terror and anxiety, we realize that in traveling the distance we have found our neighbors, in making the journey we have found our place, and in crossing the street we have made our way home. 

We pray that our new neighbors would move in, and that we would cross the street to find ourselves. As we are bold to pray for terrifying things because we’ve been taught to do it, teach us what it means to come home in your kingdom. 

djordan
Pine Tree

Don’t miss The Hundred-Foot Journey on the big screen. If you miss it, you’ll regret it…and so will your neighborhood. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

the magic of a place | Pine Tree

I’ve just returned from a four-hour party that is still making its way into the evening. It was a welcoming party for a new neighbor on my street, Pine Tree Dr.

I live in the home of my great, great aunts. They were the sisters of my great-grandfather whom I never met. They were born in the first decade of the twentieth century, and lived as graduates of Vanderbilt, single women who taught students from high school to University in the town I now live and teach in.  I live in their home much changed since they were here; there is new paint, a new floor plan, newly-purposed rooms, but still their home nonetheless.

As I walked home tonight from my neighbors’ house around the corner, the magic of this place struck me again. I remember several years ago when I thought I was moving; I would turn out the lights in this Pine Tree house room by room, struck with a certain kind of grief and loss at every flick. It’s the building, yes, but not completely.

I love the home, no doubt. I love the old wooden, creaking floors and chandeliers. I love the plaster walls and sturdy fireplaces. I love the interesting nooks and odd architecture.

But what I love more is what tonight made perfectly clear. I sat around a swimming pool with friends and neighbors I went to middle school with, and friends and neighbors that my grandparents went to middle school with. I’m proud to say that I’m Donald Laycook’s grandson, the Etheridge’s great, great-nephew. I like that my neighbors know parts of my own history better than I myself do.

There’s an interesting honor and value in knowing that as our motley crew sat around the swimming pool eating and laughing this evening––the party lingers on with my neighbors who are older than I even now as I write this––is joined together less by job, income, or history, and more by a shared value of a place. we sit in places that those who came before us sat and enjoyed evenings by candlelight. A value of this particular Pine Tree Drive that is home to childhoods, early adulthood, retirement, loss, grief, joy, childbirth, dating, graduation, and the future of God knows what.

So I walked back home this evening grateful that I know my neighbors’ names, grateful that my neighbors can tell me about my grandparents, grateful that we recognize each other in coffee shops and business meetings, and grateful that we share a legacy as old as my lost grandfather and as young as my middle school classmates.

There’s a magic to this place, a place that is clearly home. A street that is clearly home.

djordan
Pine Tree

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,