Won’t you be my neighbor?

Sometimes I think modern christians have the tendency to complicate some issues. We have, I love my neighbor month at 1027 church, which I love. We often explore the issue of who exactly our neighbor is. And I have a book on my kindle that I am slowly working my way through that argues that now that we are in a digital age and aware of problems we never would have been aware of back in the day, we have a larger group we need to be calling neighbor. Google expands our virtual neighborhood.

But you know who else is my neighbor….um…..my neighbors. The people who actually live in my neighborhood, in the houses next to mine. Yeah, them. A few weeks ago someone knocked on my door and wanted jumper cables. I could do that. Heck, he didn’t even need me to hook ’em up, just go to my car and get them. I almost didn’t look because I didn’t feel like it. But I did, which is good since I would have had to admit it right here if I hadn’t. Wow, that would’ve sucked.

Tomorrow I have the opportunity to love on my actual neighbors in my actual neighborhood. I am super excited. I have this opportunity because my neighbor Brooke (the one who spiffied my blog up) goes to the neighborhood meetings and helps with passing out the neighborhood letter is in the know. She heard there was a kids carnival being put on by a church in the neighborhood and they needed a face painter. She signed me up!

When I was a girl scout my mom decided that for the purposes of our troop, painting faces beat raking leaves when it came to the service hour requirements. So we spent a couple hours practicing on each other and then signed up for some local festivals. Painting faces is way more fun than raking leaves. Especially when you are sixteen, or pregnant (or both but hopefully not because the girls on that tv show have it rough). I got to face paint last year at the Virginia Highland Summerfest. Our church sits right in the middle of that street festival and there is no where to park that sunday so we are encouraged to volunteer. Christian and I have always volunteered at the kids center because we like kids. And they ALWAYS need people.

Last year the Peanut was just a couple weeks old. We weren’t really sure how that was all going to shake out so we didn’t volunteer. But when the day came we felt like we could manage, as long as we could take the baby. And the kids place was again desperate for volunteers. When we offered our services the woman in charge said something like “what I really need is face painters, please tell me one of you can face paint!” And I could! The best part of face painting is this, people let you lay hand on their kids. It is socially appropriate to touch a shoulder or hold a chin gently still. And while you do you can pray over that child. It was awesome.

So when Brooke heard they needed face painters she said “my friend can do that!” and I have been spending the last forty minutes looking through google image search and bookmarking my favorite designs so I will have some choices for the kids to pick from. I have found that if you just say “what do you want” sometimes the choosing takes more time than the painting (and there is always a line). And sometimes you get requests that are very difficult to fulfill (I want a snake eating a badger…a HONEY badger….and a bear is eating the snake…can you do that….PLEASE….just try….that doesn’t look right…..can I have something else?). Also, my design ideas tend to be sort of girl centric. I only have neices and daughters. I learned to face paint through the girl scouts, and then we would go paint brownie troops. I am awesome at hearts and rainbows, butterflies and schools of dolphins, fairies that rest on one cheek and spit magical swirls all over the little girls face out of her star shaped wand. A boy shows up I am all….a BLUE heart? how about a baseball….you don’t like sport? I can write X-MEN on your cheek…I can draw a green squiggly line and call it a snake. But I found some awesome batman/spider man masks I can paint and a snake or shark that opens its mouth when you open yours!

I am so excited. And I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if Brooke wasn’t purposeful about plugging into our neighborhood. If you don’t ask, how do you know what people need? If you don’t put yourself in a place like the community meeting, you won’t know they need face painters.

The best part about face painting is if you mess up, a new design is just a single wet wipe away.

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