“So when we meet as strangers, when even friends look like strangers, it is good to remember that we need each other greatly you and I, more than much of the time we dare to imagine, more than more of the time we dare to admit.”
~ Frederick Buechner ~ The Hungering Dark //

Yesterday, my neighbour Vincenzo & his young son, Antoine, finally corralled their family dog, Bailey to teach her some obedience.

It’s been a few months since Bailey entered the community here on Sequoia Lane & she’s got boundless energy & an inablility to not drag her owners while on walks & to stay out of the neighbours’ yards. She’s gotten away several times (mainly when they’re trying to corral her into the car for vet visits) but we don’t really mind.

After all, she’s just doing what a dog’s supposed to do: run & play & explore & live life to the fullest. She’s an amusing inspiration. Truly. But she’s also full of lessons.

As I watched Vincenzo & Antoine in the middle of our lil street on a grey, rainy afternoon, teaching Bailey how to sit still until they call for her & how to walk quietly at their sides instead of bounding ahead;

it struck me that that’s how the Most High deals with us as His children.

We’re like Bailey; endlessly peering ahead, straining for a glimpse of the Future, getting distracted from the business at hand by seemingly greener pastures, unable to walk quietly in the way He’s told us to go. We think we know what’s up. We think we know best. We think we’ve got it handled.

But we’re wrong.

We can barely see in front of our faces most days & the things we think we’ve got sorted, we foul up with our sin or our finitude. & our Father picks us up with longsuffering love, dusts off our clothes, takes us by the hand, & sets us on our feet once more with an “oh, my dear child, when will you learn? I always know best. You must trust me.”

& it’s embarrassing ’cause we know that.

We know He’s really in control but we seem to behave as if He isn’t. Or as if it’s not enough that He is, & we juust need to have a peek behind the Veil & see what’s going on & nudge things a bit. But, like Bailey, we’ve got to learn obedience & trust. We’ve got to learn & re-learn that these frustrations, uncertainties, injustices, interruptions, un-fulfilled longings, un-healed wounds &on&on;

they’re all part of His sovereign plan to make us more like Himself, at whatever cost. & most often, the cost is our pride & our need to know & our need for control. It’s a hard cost but it’s the sort of hard work we all have to go in for if we’re to be conformed more & more to the image of our Saviour.

There’s lessons like this running up & down Sequoia Lane. We’re a quirky lil group here.

There’s Vincenzo & Lucilla next door, & their twins Antoine & Brianna &, of course, rambunctious Bailey. Vincenzo’s a construction worker & leaves at odd hours but is always home early to play softball with the twins & teach Bailey some manners.

Then there’s Brian & Lisa across from them & they’ve got three sons & a lil Corgi named Brady who doesn’t much care for Bailey but that’s mainly ’cause he’s old & doesn’t have time for youngsters with boundless energy. He does have time for Daisy & Lucky, Manny’s Corgis, but that’s mainly ’cause they’re old just like him. He’s delightful.

& so are Brian & Lisa. Their oldest sons are in college & they’ve raised gentlemen, lovely humans. It made me smile so so big one day when one son’s girlfriend came over & it was raining out & he went to meet her by her car with an umbrella & opened the door for her. The man didn’t get that way by accident. His parents raised him well.

Brian kisses Lisa in the driveway when they both happen to come home from work at the same time & helps her with the groceries & then dons his neon-pink sneakers to go for a walk with her & Brady.

Brady’s the one running the show. His lil legs can barely make it back up the hill once they’ve gone down so Lisa carries him up like he’s a baby, chatting with Brian all the while.

Several days ago, I went for my own walk & ran into Lisa & Brady, & Manny & Daisy.

Manny’s got a wonderful Jersey Italian accent & we all chatted about the new apartment-complex they’re building at the bottom of the hill. It hurt my heart when they tore down a magnificent grove of trees & leveled it all out to begin the project. So much bare, open space where there had once been life & Beauty.

Now, I guess, there’ll still be life too. It’ll just be human life & a lil more traffic & noise ’cause a restaurant’s coming there as well. But somehow that just doesn’t seem quite the same as the life that was there before.

So Manny, Lisa, & I chatted about that & about how they’re building a new lil plaza in town down below & how there really ought to be a coffee shop in there somewhere ’cause everyone knows a town is only as good as its coffee shop.

& then we got to talking about Brady & Daisy & Lucky & I was kneeling down showering Daisy with love, much to her delight & Brady’s envy (he crossed to the other side of the short street to stare at me with eyes of displeasure which was really quite amusing).

& then Manny said something which broke my heart: “I hope someone takes care of me as well as I’ve taken care of them.”

He meant the dogs. Daisy & Lucky are in their late teens & have got grey on their furry faces now but Manny & his wife still take them to the groomers faithfully & I guess it’s got Manny thinking about when his time comes. He’s not elderly but he’s middle-aged & it’s just sad to think that he thinks he won’t have anyone to do for him what he’s doing for those two lil Corgis.

& then Vincenzo came roaring up the hill in his massive pick-up truck & Manny said “oh no, here comes Vinny”, & we all jumped out of the way with laughter ’cause Vincenzo drives the Grey Beast like Jehu drove chariots in Israel. He’s got a narrow driveway but it amazes me how he swings in & out of it with such furious & swift ease. Probably years of practice.

(He’s doing it now, as I write this)

He waved as he passed by & then we went back into the street as if we owned it & Brady finally got the better of his jealousy & waddled over on his short lil legs so I could pet him too. Though that was short-lived ’cause not only does Brady not have time for most other dogs, he doesn’t have time for many humans either, unless they’re his humans.

Ah yes, Sequoia Lane’s full of lovely humans & I’ve barely scratched the surface. There’s quiet Dennis & Julie next-door. & then the Brickvillas directly across (so directly across that we can (& often do) wave to each other from our windows). But the Brickvillas are fellow believers & we go to the same church so that’s been a lovely lil blessing from our Father to have fellow Exiles within waving distance.

It’s comforting to know they’re there. It’s comforting to see Lisa walking Brady, & Brian with his neon-pink running shoes & Vincenzo driving the Grey Beast like mad, & to know that even though we were all strangers, now we’re acquaintances who share Sequoia Lane & call it home.

Once there was a magnificent double rainbow & my sister saw it 1st & told those of us who were home & then we called the Brickvillas & they left their shrimp dinner & we all ran out into the street & Marigold Brickvilla walked to Lisa’s house & told her & she came out & then Lucilla & the twins heard us all chattering in the street & they joined & there we all were,

in the street,
marveling at the Most High’s bow in the sky.

& I’m not sure if there’s sense in all this but I hope it makes you smile & reminds you that Hope can be found even in neon-pink running shoes, street-talks, & a lil Corgi with attitude 🖤

death to the Shadow
courage, always courage
we have not lived in vain

ft. a scene from Hidalgo buut this is how Vincenzo drives his pick-up truck; not a direct correlation but it gets the Atmosphere across


2 thoughts on “Street-Talks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s