Sunday, November 03, 2013

Stepping Out My Door and Expecting What?

"Then he touched their eyes, and he said, “Just as you have believed, let it be done to you.”" ...Matthew 9:29


Last April 28th marked  my 20th year in the Buffalo, NY area. Wow. These twenty years felt more like twenty minutes. 

And you know? Way back in 1993 Tom and I noticed that people, even children (even boys!) held store doors open for us. Folks in supermarkets smiled at us, some greeted old friends with hugs and ,"How are the kids?," and others, strangers, spoke to us pleasantly. Inside their cars, they paused for us at the cross walk and from the parking lot they volunteered to return our carts to the store. Everywhere we went people laughed together and some even whistled happy tunes. Adult children shopped with their elderly moms and I even spied one middle-aged couple dancing in a store aisle to a piped-in 1940's tune. The vast majority of folks' yards are lovingly kept-up and these thousands of 100 year-old+ houses, mostly, still sparkle proudly in the sun.

And at first we wondered if we'd flown to a whole other planet rather than just a whole other state.

Twenty years ago we moved to this beautiful area and has it changed for the worse? Not that I've noticed, for when I shopped this weekend I saw nearly every thing that I described to you, above. Seriously. The happy, kind, helpful folks and the lovely old homes and yards. I didn't spy another couple dancing in the aisles, but perhaps I'd just missed them. heh.

Now, is Buffalo the only place where people still share old-fashioned values? No way! But this place is what I know-- where I shop, where I drive suburb streets and where I've spent a large chunk of my life. And today I realized, again, that--for these decades--I've always stepped outside my door expecting to see more Good. More of what delights my very heart. I expect that when I return I'll have more stories and memories of smiles, words and kindnesses.

People who seek things of wonder, who train their eyes to zero in on them, see them because they expect them. Folks who expect the worst generally see only the people having bad days taking it out on others and chipped paint on houses. Oh dear.

And somewhere in those two decades I began wanting to be the kind lady who held doors open with a smile or paused at crosswalks or started conversations in the cereal aisle. You know, so that other seekers would find what they'd expected or what doubters needed to see that day because their hearts leaked away all hope. And God and I still work on that to this day.

It's been an awesome twenty years in Buffalo and I'm expecting the awesomeness to continue.

"I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord."   ...Psalm 27:13,14


November already! And, amazingly, we've not yet had a killer frost. Clearly, Hobbit Cottage must be an enchanted place.  :)


Oh! Have you ever watched the tv series, My Cat From Hell? Tom and I just discovered it on Netflix this weekend and we're enjoying it and also learning a few more things about cats. Yay!

(Poor ol' Daniel, though, isn't a fan. The yowling, fighting cats make him quite nervous, the big baby.)  :)


Dolores said...

My bags are packed, I'm moving to Buffalo. LOL

Debra said...

Oh Dolores! I'd truly love to have you here. Truly.

But I'm also betting that many of these same things are in your area, only perhaps a bit harder to find? But if anyone can find them, you can! Blessings, Debra

Anonymous said...

You are indeed fortunate to have found such a place!! I too am sure there are others, sometimes I read of them on other blogs. But is it common? Doubtful these days. We used to LOVE going to visit kin in Seattle, WA...and one reason was just as you state was a kind and friendly place, even for strangers and visitors. Something has happened however...this time we were there, it was not impossible to find such things, but only here and there. We STILL try to be such people, in every possible way, even behind the wheel of the car!! But, yes, things have changed. Hubby and I look for such places to eat, shop, etc. And try to return often and I often compliment the staff when things are can hope such things will encourage more. But oh, I do miss some of how it was!! I suppose sometimes newcomers to an area do not absorb the culture of the area. I hope you can always live in such a great place!! Makes me almost wish to move there (almost...heh, getting older and the cold weather is not so easy anymore, on older bones!)
Elizabeth now going back to NC for a time...

Deborah Raney said...

Loved this post, Debra. I'm discovering that kindness begets kindness. I take it as a challenge when I go out and about to try to make as many people smile as possible. And often all it takes is giving a smile to get one in return! I have a feeling that's why YOU run into so many good things.