It’s dead, Jim.
Yep, that’s our mailbox–now more like a rhombus–never to shelter our mail from the elements again. While this mailbox could battle wind, rain, snow, and sleet, it couldn’t withstand the mother element of them all: my car.
I thought I had parked my car safely on the small patch of flat driveway at the summit of our main driveway, which is practically a cliff towering above the street below; so I left it in first gear and blissfully walked inside, unaware of the devilry that gravity would work once I went inside. I made dinner–a nice big pot of meaty spaghetti and asparagus–and sat down to enjoy the fruit of my labors. Suddenly, I heard a rapping at my door and saw through the window the friendly face of my next door neighbor. But when I opened the door, the sight was not so friendly. For my car was in the street with a pile of wreckage in its wake.
At first I thought the worst: my car had hit one of the many cars parked on the street. Maybe it hit the van of the annoying AT&T salesman who keeps trying to sell me overpriced internet? By God’s marvelous grace, my fugitive Mazda only destroyed one thing: the mailbox. And thanks to Amazon Prime two-day shipping, another mailbox will be here in time for the weekend. Until then, the mail lady will be severely confused.
The mailbox’s martyrdom for the sake of the neighbors’ cars isn’t the highlight of this adventure, however; it’s the neighbors I met along the way. A man and a woman–the latter from the house to our right, the other from a house across the street–saw the accident and met me at my door to bring the news and share in my postmortem grief. They were both very friendly, and I learned a lot about them through the short interaction. I could tell from the way they were talking that our next door neighbor is probably not a Christian judging from her lifestyle and personal history, while our neighbor across the street is recently married and may be a Brother in Christ. Whatever the case, the accident gave me a chance to start some relationships, and that’s the real blessing in all of this.
I hope this house of ours–what we call the CHOSTEL (short for “Charlotte Hostel” and an acronym for Christian House of Seminary Trained Evangelical Lads)–will become a hub of hospitality in the neighborhood. When the Israelites were bemoaning their immanent captivity in Babylon, God challenged them to “seek the good of the city to which I have called you.” And I think this sentiment can be applied to our calling as Christians. God has placed me in this city and this neighborhood for many reasons, and one of the foremost is to build relationships and bring glory to His name: to seek the good of these people around me. And what better place to start than by intentionally building relationships with our saved and lost neighbors?
First step: Brownie making for them both.
Next steps: The possibilities are endless. Maybe we’ll have the man and his wife over for dinner. Maybe we’ll offer to pressure-wash the neighbor’s house.
And who knows? When they feel like circumstances have hit them like a runaway Mazda, maybe it’ll be our door they knock on for comfort and hope…