FIRMLY PLANTED ◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
“No friendship is an accident.”
O’Henry, Heart of the West
I’ve been single for a long time and am quite happy with it, but sometimes it can get a bit lonely, even for an introvert like me. It’s not that I don’t have friends—I do, and I love them, but one thing I haven’t had for years is a “neighborhood friend.”
I usually have a lot of projects going on and am invariably working on something, looking for something, planting, imagining, writing, or reading something! Moving furniture, getting a picture hung straight, unloading a heavy object—there are techniques that make these things easier, but sometimes I just need a hand. A like-minded friend within walking distance to talk things over with, get an opinion, or call for an impromptu adventure—this is something I was missing.
I’m not sure when I started praying seriously for a “neighbor friend”—maybe four years ago. It was a “heart’s desire” kind of prayer. I live on the edge of the older part of town and love the big trees and unique homes.
Sometimes while walking I would wonder who might live in a certain house. If a house was for sale, I’d imagine “that person” might be the new owner. There is one particular street that has always been a favorite because it’s kind of a hidden gem—a little alcove with two great houses—a tiny quaint one made of cedar (pretty unique!), and, next to it, a two-story stone house that was a mystery to me. Was it new, was it old? Did anyone even live there? (I’ve since found out it was a custom-built “storybook” house.) The tiny one next to it was also a mystery. It had an interesting looking garden area on the side. What was in back? I so wanted to peek!
One day, I drove by and the quaint cedar house had a “For Sale” sign in front. The wondering began: Who will get that house…it’s pretty small for a family…maybe a couple, but maybe a single person. I kept my eye on it to see what would happen, and, finally, the “For Sale” sign was gone. I’d drive by to see if there was any sign of who might live there. (I know…I sound like a stalker!) There was one car, and sometimes a pickup was also there. I concluded it must be a couple. Disappointing. On my irregular walks I’d often walk down the “hidden gem” street. I never saw anyone outside and I continued to wonder.
About two years went by…
Just a few months ago, I decided to venture out. I went down 14th (aka the “hidden gem”) and a woman was in the front yard of the tiny cedar house. She was working at planting or watering—I don’t remember which--I stopped and we talked. She had bought the house about two years ago—a single person! We hit it off right away and the rest is history, as they say—we both love gardening, thrift store shopping, and books. We both have a cat, and we both remember shopping at the original Whole Foods store on Lamar in Austin years and years ago. It’s not often I run into someone like that!! We’ve become good friends and have already gone on a few adventures.
Because of our mutual love for plants and our ongoing work on our own gardens, we’re always looking for ideas and have self-toured several local yards—one was even featured on Central Texas Gardener. Our shared enthusiasm and these amazing and creative gardens have been inspirational.
It’s easy to get in a rut and be so fixed on a plan that one fails to see other possibilities. I thought there was little room for anything else in my garden, but now I see new ways to add to the design and have more peace about the things I can’t control (like leaves!) There is a lot more I can do. God not only answered my prayer for a neighborhood friend, he re-ignited the fire in my soul for what I’m meant to do…and that is above and beyond what I asked for.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us…