Jim was on Facebook the other night chatting with friends. As I watched him chat and listen to him read a comment or two to me, I realized that Facebook is the new front porch. How many of you remember front porches? The front porch is where you sat on a warm evening and swung in the swing or rocked in a rocking chair. As you sat on the porch, friends and neighbors would come by and some would come up and sit a while. The news of the day would be shared along with a story or two told. Sometimes, homemade ice cream would be made as the stories were shared. Or, a cold Coca Cola would be offered to sip on and savor as you visited with friends and family on the porch.
Ah, yes, the front porch. One of my fondest memories of the front porch was Ms. Sarah and Mr. Cape’s front porch. They were our next door neighbors when my family and I lived in the small rural community of Burwell, Georgia. Anytime of the day you could go up to their porch and they would stop what they were doing and offer a Coca Cola and sometimes a piece of pecan pie and simply visit. Though, if it were garden season, you may be handed a bowl of peas to shell or beans to snap as you were treated to that Coke and pie. No matter though, the visits were all the same and I learned so much from just listening to Ms. Sarah and Mr. Cape share about their life. Oh, to be on that porch again.
Another fond memory of a front porch began several years ago when my parents began renting a cottage at Lake Junaluska. Since it is difficult to get a lot of time together at the holidays and during the year, we all gather at the Butterfly House to enjoy fellowship, swapping stories and to simply re- charge. Now, if you have been to Junaluska, you know that sitting on the front porch is not an option but it is mandatory. There is nothing like it to just sit there during the day and escape with a good book, to just sit and look at the lake and visit with folks as they pass by. When sitting on a front porch at Junaluska, there is a front porch etiquette. First, you greet and wave to people as they pass by your porch. Also, when sitting on the porch, realize that you have extended an open invitation for anyone to come up and sit a while to visit. Sometimes, you may know your guest and other times it may be a meeting of the first time. Then, there is my code of the porch and that is there has to be a cold Coca Cola or glass of sweet iced tea in hand. Now, that is what I called living!
It saddens me that now-a-days a lot of homes are not built with front porches. My house is one of those houses. As I look back, I wished I had picked a design that would have allowed for a front porch. In today’s world, most people come and go through their garages and never even see much less speak to a neighbor. Houses are built in such a way that you can’t tell if anyone is even at home which I am told that is just a good security thing. But, with the front porch gone, so is the fellowship and taking the time out to get to really know someone is gradually fading away. Thus, now each evening, we all get on Facebook to catch up with latest news or to share a story or two.
Though there are front porches few and far between, my challenge for you when it gets to be warm weather to find a spot in front of your house. Once you find your spot, take an iced tea or cold Coke out with you along with an extra chair or two. Then, as people in your neighborhood walk by invite them up to sit a while, share a story or two.
You see, it is all about fellowship. When we fellowship with one another, we are also in fellowship with God. God created us to fellowship with one another and to hear each other’s stories. Who knows, one of those front porch visitors could be the blessing you need or you could be the blessing they need.
In the meantime, you will probably see Jim and me on our front porch during the day and/or in the evening. As we visit on our front porch, we will add a comment or two, we will share a story or two. Then, sometimes we will simply sit there and read your story as you share. If you see us on the front porch, feel free to pop in and say hello on the chat line. Our front porch is open for fellowship. How about your front porch?
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16