Changes

You may have noticed that I skipped a week in my blog posts. I have a perfectly good reason: I was moving.

Moving is one of those things that most people have to do from time to time, and almost nobody really enjoys it. Of course, there are some good things associated with moving. Change can be good. Moving gives you the chance to throw away old stuff you don’t need, discover treasures you forgot you had, and make a fresh start on some things.

And in our case, this was a happy move. We were given the opportunity to relocate from the College Heights Friendship House, about a mile north, to the North Park Friendship House. It’s a newer house, and a much bigger one. It has plenty of storage space, and even a special community room for hosting neighborhood events. We are excited about the opportunities it will bring, and the blessings that it offers.

But in reflection, perhaps I should say that this move is bittersweet, because while we are happy and excited about North Park, we are sad to leave behind our neighbors and friends in College Heights. The house we were in was old, but it had the charm of classic Craftsman architecture, and the floors were beautiful, well-worn hardwood – even if they did sag a bit!

CCC is bringing in a new coordinator for College Heights, and I’m looking forward to introducing him to our friends there. I know he will do a great job, bringing fresh enthusiasm and some new ideas to the work there.

Meanwhile, we’re getting settled into our new place, finding the best routes to get to work, school, and the store. The new house is nice, but it doesn’t feel like home yet. That will come with time.

So, as I’m looking back at the last six years, thinking about this move, reflecting on what to keep and what to throw away, here’s some of what I’ve learned:

People are more important than programs. It’s easy to mistake activity for progress. But our goal is not just to stay busy – we are called to love our neighbors, which means building relationships with them. And speaking of that,

Relationship-building takes time. Yes, we are moving to a different neighborhood, but the relationships we have built in our old neighborhood won’t be lost. And I’m looking forward to building on the friendships we already have with folks in the new neighborhood, and working with them to continue growing a stronger community.

There is no substitute for caring. As has often been stated, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. We are called to love others as Jesus did, learning as we go.

So, this is my last entry for College Heights, and my first for North Park. Thanks to our College Heights friends, for your patience with me and for being good neighbors. And on to North Park, where we hope to build on the wonderful work established by my predecessors, Danyel and Laura.

Here we go.

One thought on “Changes

  1. Ironically, or maybe not, just last night I was reading a briefing on effective techniques to hold realistic discussions about unpleasant realities. Rule one was: “Make it clear that you care about the ‘other side,’ and those undecided, and will work to see their needs met.” It was essentially what mediators / negotiators call “reframing the issue.” One thing I’ll add from that background: reframing well will dissipate anger quickly — or not. In that latter category, you will find people who aren’t there to accomplish anything positive. At that point, you have to move to expose and isolate their agenda quickly so everyone else can move along.

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