We've committed to sharing the joys and the struggles of trying to systematically increase neighboring in a community. The research shows that more people want increased neighboring...and...sometimes...the experience, doesn't back up the research.
For instance take today.
I set out to knock on doors just a few blocks from my home. I was asking folks what kinds of businesses they wished existed in our neighborhood. It was a rough go.
I knocked on about 30 doors and had a total of three conversations.
- I don't want any businesses...this is a residential neighborhood and I like it that way.
- A diner
- Businesses that don't go door to door.....(imagine door slamming shut)
After an outing like this I usually go down a predictable line of thinking.
First, I question everything we stand for. Second, I attack myself for quitting early and not sticking with it for the whole afternoon as planned. Third, I come up with a dozen ideas I should have tried that would have been more successful.
Hopefully, eventually, I welcome in the negative reactions associated with the experience as a way of inviting them to be transcended into helpful lessons.
In reality, neighboring is hard. The habits and norms of a neighborhood have taken decades to establish and a random dude showing up on your porch one afternoon won't change those habits. We're committed to being free to fail. It creates a joyful freedom to try stuff without fear. Even with this commitment; failing hurts. To be honest, I don't know yet if something redemptive will come from my crappy afternoon.
It's moments like these that I cling to the practices that sustain me. Good music, time on the front porch, grace from my community, and a little bourbon. Failure isn't the end of the story, and while I don't know what the lesson is yet; because I have a community, because I'm not alone, I trust that it will come. Maybe in a wise comment from Matt. Maybe in nuanced second attempt from Catherine. Maybe in an encouragement from Ashley. Maybe in a playful expression from Prescott.
Maybe the lesson is less about failure and more about my community of grace. So, what are you failing at these days? And whose showing you grace?