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|Letter I know very well Where to Send, but Won’t|
Oct. 8th, 2009 at 8:58 am
Dear Mormon Neighbors,
I just want to thank you for not welcoming me to the neighborhood. Sincerely.
When we moved in, I was surprised, pleasantly so, at how welcoming the new neighbors have been. Absolutely everyone on our street has made it a point to come and introduce themselves (and their dogs) to my kids and I. Some have proffered brownies (my favorite), others have hosted my kids for play dates at their house, a few have offered the use of gardening tools and even came to help pull down those terribly overgrown bushes that obscured much of the front of the house. My next door neighbor even acted as a top-notch watch dog, quizzing various workmen who appeared to do some work while I was not there. While I am not a very outgoing person, I have a healthy appreciation for a good neighborhood, so was very appreciative.
While you and I had attended the same ward for the previous two years and have similarly aged kids, I actually had no idea we were new neighbors. Yours was the only house on the block which did not send emissaries to greet us, and I didn’t even know we were neighbors until the Relief Society president told me. In a region in which it is exceedingly rare to have someone of our faith live nearby, we have each other and I didn’t even know it: I thought maybe the people who lived in that house worked crazy hours or were shut-ins, not a young family with a stay at home mom and busy little kids.
And I thank you for that. I really appreciate that you not only weren’t particularly excited to have a member of your ward living right across the street from you, but that you don’t involve yourself in the perfunctory meeting of new neighbors common in our society. I probably would have done the same thing. Like I said, I am not particularly outgoing, and I might have told myself it would have been too awkward or that I was too busy to actually go over and introduce myself. Now that I have experienced a very warm welcome for all the non-members around, and in contrast heard not a whisper from the only Mormons around, I realize that it is, in fact, more awkward to be the only one on our road to NOT engage in those pleasantries. I have learned from your example what I DON’T want to do. For that, I thank you. Sincerely.