We made a quick run to the library because Arielle had ordered a book we needed to pick up. Liana immediately ran off to find all her favorite stories that we've already read a dozen times. Arielle searched the shelves for more Nancy Drew mysteries as I debated with the librarians about whether the upcoming storm would leave us with a foot of snow. (Actually, the storm brought ice that left people stranded in their cars on major highways for 24 hours.)
We checked out our books and started out the door. One of the librarians called out to me, "You homeschool, don't you?" She led me to a woman who just moved here and was looking for a homeschooling group. This woman, Gretchen, had just driven from Colorado with her four small children in order to join her husband who is working a temporary job in the area. We discussed homeschooling stuff--the lack of a local social group to join but the co-op at our church where children take P.E., art, and music. Her children gathered around, two of the girls the ages of mine and two little ones.
We talked a few minutes more and then I knew what I should do. But I hesitated. My house was a mess. We'd just finished school and had no time yet for chores. Fred was working late and I had a stress-free afternoon and evening planned--a bit of cleaning, piano practice for the girls, an easy dinner, and maybe even time to work on my quilt. It was tempting to ignore the still, small voice. My closest friends know that hospitality is very difficult for me. And what about these four kids? Were they going to run rampant through my house destroying what little order I have left?
But I followed through. "Do you want to come back to my house so we can talk more?" Gretchen did and she followed me home. We had tea and a nice conversation. She lives at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and her father-in-law hunts javelinas in southern Arizona where I was raised. She is looking for a church and activities for her children. She's eager to explore the historical sites in Philadelphia, the Art Museum, and Valley Forge. She said she and her children prayed that very morning that they would find new friends.
The children were all surprising quiet. No one was running wild. When I checked on them, Liana and the two younger girls were playing, laughing, and talking. Arielle and the oldest girl sat on Arielle's bed, all smiles, chatting away. The sweet little boy played contently with trains on the living room carpet. As they left, one of the girls, named Eliana and who also just turned 7, hugged Liana tightly with promises of future playdates. We said good-bye and I was reminded of my continuing prayer for Arielle that she would find a new friend. My obedience in that small moment answered my own prayer.
No, this was nothing as big as changing the face of a North Carolina town, just an opportunity taken, a door opened, prayers answered, friendships begun. I'm learning to listen.