Hello, good people,
Getting a second-hand puzzle this week meant a lot to me.
I was working from home at my dining room table when the doorbell rang. I admit, for just a second, I considered not opening up the door. I was unshowered, wearing stretchy pants, and bespectacled in my for-emergency-only glasses.
But the pandemic has changed me. I mean, stretchy pants? Who cares? Glasses? Whatever. And I don’t see a lot of people outside my own pod these days, so a bit of adventure waited behind the front door. Maybe it was a delivery person? I hadn’t ordered anything. A politician? No, the election was two weeks ago.
I opened the door and my eyes landed on two slightly familiar but out-of-context figures, masked. They held a jigsaw puzzle in their hands.
It was our neighbors, John and Gail. They had done a puzzle, they explained, and really liked it. Since the puzzle was of a camping scene that included a trailer that looked like ours, they thought it was perfect to pass along to our family.
I don’t know John and Gail. Not really, anyway. I know where they live. I know my husband and I walk our dog past their house and we love their pretty blue door and their sunny porch. I especially love the adorable Little Free Library John built for Gail during the pandemic. So at some point, we started stopping on our walks to tell them that we enjoyed their lovely garden. That led to more waves on subsequent walks, more conversations, and more familiarity.
Now, they were standing on my doorstep, being friendly and thoughtful. It made my heart leap. Were we … becoming friends?
When you’re a kid, it’s so much easier. Heck, my oldest child would be approaching a playground from half a block away and he would pick out a friend. “Momma,” he’d say, holding my hand and looking up at me under the brim of his little bucket hat, “I’m going to play with that boy.” He’d zone in on a boy about his own age, wearing denim overalls, pushing a truck in the sand. Even from that distance, my son could assume: He likes trucks. I like trucks. Therefore, we’ll be friends.
Making new friends as an adult is a little trickier. But does it have to be? Maybe it just means leaning into the vulnerability, even if it’s uncomfortable. Maybe we, as adults, overcomplicate things. What is the cost? Wave to that stranger. Stop and talk to someone. Ask them a question, and really listen to the answer.
Or, just answer the door, stretchy pants be damned.
All it requires is some time and space. Don't rush past chance encounters. Always take the opportunity to say something nice. And definitely don’t be embarrassed to be seen in your for-emergency-only glasses.
Open the door.
Photo by Reiseuhu on Unsplash