After a recent weekend of spending time with old and new friends, I was reflecting during our church service about how one’s view of something changes as you mature. As a child, my neighborhood was where I played, lived and went to school. What I remember are the mechanics of our daily routines. There wasn’t much depth to what I saw, just the outer layer of things. -Just the flowers, grass and trees if you will. It was fun but it lacked any depth. As an adult, I see my neighborhood as something much more powerful. I see the quality of the people in it. How they live and work, strive and struggle, play and love. In church, I get to know that neighbor who I used to only see jogging by my house. I learn how he has been fighting cancer. No longer a stranger, I come to celebrate his victory over it. I come to know the other mothers in the neighborhood. Thank God, I have come to know the other mothers in the neighborhood. I come to love them as we share our joys and sorrows, our victories and defeats. We carry casseroles and tissues and laughter to each other through good times and bad. Our children play together. They learn together. They grow together. These people are the soil and air my family will grow among and I know we will thrive. Now, as an adult and mother, I notice not just the flowers, grass and trees but also the water, soil and air. I am fortunate. Very fortunate. And yet, I realize, my growth in awareness is still just a mere droplet compared to what God has in store for me. As I write, this song speaks to me: As It Is In Heaven – Matt Maher. Thank you, my friends and family, for being my water, my air, my soil… My umbrellas through the storms of life.