Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to accomplish something big, we fail to recognize the little moments, that truly give life its magic.
Today, beloved friends moved out of our neighborhood. There is sadness in our home because of it.
We have lived in our little, suburban neighborhood northwest of Phoenix for the last four years. And our friends have been a part of it from the very beginning. In many ways, we have not known life in Arizona without them.
The similarities between our family and theirs are almost too many to count. They have two kids: a son and a daughter—just like us. Their son is the same age as ours and their daughter is only one year older than our daughter. The boys enjoyed sports and video games and riding their bikes to the neighborhood grocery store. The girls enjoyed arts and crafts, swimming, and hours of conversation.
We attended the same school, the same church, and the same community events. We enjoyed the same activities. We were together for birthday parties, trick-or-treating, Super Bowls, and fireworks on the 4th of July.
More than once, a knock on our door in the evening meant warm cookies from our friends just four houses away. They were generous and hospitable, thoughtful and loving.
We knew the move was coming for months and to be honest, I thought very little of it. I mean, people move, that’s just how it works these days.
But things changed yesterday evening. After saying one final good-bye to his best friend of four years, my 12-year old son’s eyes were tear-filled. And mine quickly became so as well.
Later into the night, I ran by their home like I had a hundred times before on my usual route. But this time, it was empty. And my mind began to reminisce about the time we first met.
It was actually quite unassuming. His 8-year old son was on the play set at a small, local park. My son ran over to play with his “friend from school.” And I sat down on a bench next to his father. We talked about sports, work, and moving into the neighborhood. And the rest, I suppose, is history.
I am thankful today, that in that moment, I chose to let David into my life. It was a small, simple occurrence to engage in a conversation with a stranger. But in the end, it had a profound impact on my life.
I wonder, if at its very heart, minimalism is about questioning what pieces we allow into our life. Our lives are finite and we are met with choices every day about what to allow in. And by definition, allowing in one piece necessitates missing another.
Minimalism seeks desperately to evaluate each and every piece. Does it bring joy, value, purpose, and fulfillment? Or does it distract us from it? The evaluation tends to extend much further than physical possessions.
When we invest all of our energy into pursuing financial gain, we miss opportunity for selfless love.
When we clutter our schedules with purely selfish pursuits, we end up neglecting the family that lives right next door.
When we spend a majority of our finances on material excess, we find little space for generosity.
And when we waste countless hours in the mindless consumption of television or smartphone apps, we may miss the new, life-giving relationship sitting on the bench across the park from us.
Our lives become the sum total of the pieces we allow in. May we be intentional and thoughtful about each. (tweet that)
And all the best to you David and Doreen and family in San Antonio.