21 Jul I Invited a Stranger to my House, and Now We’re Friends!
I had lunch with a stranger, and I liked it!
Not something I would normally do, but just last week I was complaining to my husband about our house being miles and miles from the entrance to our neighborhood. Getting to our house involves navigating multiple stop signs and turns, and nobody ever just “pops” in. Since moving here, I have really missed the occasional pop-in.
So, when Mary Martha called and said she was going to be in town for a few meetings, I said, “Please come over!” I’ll make lunch! It probably sounded a little desperate, but I didn’t care. I will not be enslaved by my geographical location!
And technically Mary Martha isn’t a complete stranger.
We’ve talked on the phone, and emailed, and texted. Once or twice.
For example, I know Mary Martha has a company called Forever Gingerbread and that she is also working on an amazing new project. Mary Martha has a dream to create a shopping platform curated solely for people who want to buy products with a purpose. And as is the case with so many big ideas, they often emerge from humble beginnings.
Forever Gingerbread might be humble, but it’s not small. Mary Martha and her husband started with an idea that grew from their garage and traveled all the way across the country to Reynosa, Mexico. There, they employ deaf workers at Isaiah 55 Ministries to build and ship the houses. The gingerbread houses are used as a training tool to teach carpentry and painting skills to young adults who desire to enter the work force in hopes of providing for their own families.
That’s the great thing about this present day and age. We don’t have to be in the same room to get to know each other. It’s pretty awesome, but I do still miss those good ‘ol fashioned face-to-face conversations.
So when I received this email:
Leaving kiddos with a babysitter 9 your time so I will be free and up for anything. Will be driving in from Birmingham…but I can meet u anywhere. Would love to see your work area if you’re up for it!
I immediately replied,
My work area? That’s hilarious! It consists of a built in desk in my kitchen, half my husband’s office, the kitchen table, and our upstairs game room where all our product is stored! You’re welcome to come by, though. I’ll even make you lunch!
She took me up on that irresistible offer, despite the fact that I had had company the previous night. My house was still a wreck because the company spent the night, and then we had spent the better part of the morning eating breakfast and chatting. I loved every minute, so all the normal chores didn’t get done. I just sat at the kitchen table with my friend, and we enjoyed a real conversation. Which I definitely don’t regret, even in hindsight, because how often does a 40 year old get to have an old-school sleepover with her best friend?
Exactly. It doesn’t happen very often.
So I was savoring every last minute until she finally left because darn it—kids have to be picked up from camp!
Let me back up. I did clean the downstairs bathroom because after driving three hours from Birmingham I knew Mary Martha would for sure want to use it.
Rest assured, I did do that.
When Mary Martha finally arrived, one of my sons wasn’t even up yet. It was 12:30.
My daughter had just gotten home from cross-country practice and she wanted to make a smoothie. In the blender. It was very loud. My other two kids were loitering, which is a fancy way of saying they were still basically in their jammies and just taking up space in the kitchen while asking for stuff and dragging things out of the pantry and fridge.
I really wanted to apologize for what can only be described as chaos (did I also tell you the dog was barking his head off?), but instead I just said, “Welcome to my office! You wanted to see it, so here it is!”
I think she was impressed.
Seriously, though, I confessed that I used to try to pretend that I had it all together. There was a time in my life when I would have frantically stuffed everything in the dishwasher and bribed the kids with ice cream and candy to stay in the basement. I finally realized that having it all together was kind of a lonely place to be. Life is so much better when you’re real and can share your struggles and your dreams. When you’re honest about where you are and where you’d like to be, more often than not you get to hear my favorite four words in the entire world:
“How can I help?”
So, Mary Martha and I had lunch together, and it was basically leftovers and she was so generous and so kind and I’m so glad I didn’t wait until everything was perfect to meet her in real life.
Because I would have missed out on meeting a really beautiful new friend.
Hey, Mary Martha, when I can come and see your “work area?”
This is the premise of Forever We. Our mission is to nurture the opportunity to live together with meaning and purpose. And our prayer for you is that the community where you live will be filled with people who care about one another, too, and that you and your friends would find creative new ways to create lasting joy while fostering meaningful relationships.
We are Forever We.
P.S. For the record, after Mary Martha left, I did assign chores to everyone. We vacuumed and dusted. We scrubbed the kitchen and cleaned toilets. I kept it real for as long as I could. Maybe Mary Martha can swing back by on her way home.