There's this house I've had my eye on for four years, a house Jordan and I walked past every day in our very first married neighborhood, a house with lawn chairs out front and Japanese lanterns on the back porch.
It's what I call a party house, magnificently cluttered without looking like an episode of Hoarders. The entire place screams fun, and when Jordan and I would pass it on our nightly walks, I'd imagine what gatherings happened there. I knew: When I grew up, I wanted a house just like that.
Now I'm fairly grown-up and renting a house I love very much. We've got our porch lights hung, and -- inspired by the party house -- our Adirondack chairs out front.
A few weeks ago, while working at a city park opening near our place, I met the neighbors of the party house. (You'd think this would be unusual, but it's Tallahassee, so occurrences like this are fairly common.) In a gesture uncommon for my introverted personality, I gushed to the neighbor a little about that house, how I'd loved it for four years, dreaming about who loved there and the parties they must have. And all of a sudden, in the middle of my overly-romanticized musings about this little white house, the neighbor said, "Yard-drinks! You've got to come to yard-drinks!"
It turns out that the party house is actually pretty similar to what I'd always imagined. Each Wednesday night, neighbors gather on the front lawn for yard-drinks, which is as simple as it sounds. It's BYOB, and they sit in lawn chairs chatting until they don't want to chat anymore.
I love it.
The church talks a lot about community, about establishing the closeness that first church in Acts seemed to have so easily.
I'm beginning to think that type of community can't evolve solely from ministries and church services and potlucks in the basement.
Some of it has to happen outside the bubble of the building, in homes and parks and neighborhoods and driveways, in the midst of the built-in community already existing in our backyards.
We haven't made it over the party house for yard-drinks just yet. Instead, though, we decided to try our hand at yard-drinks ourselves.
Monday night, we invited a couple of friends over. We set a bucket of drinks and four lawn chairs out front. And for a couple of hours, we just sat -- without a schedule, without a television -- and laughed and talked and waved to neighbors.
It was just what I wanted.
Low-key, semi-effortless community.
We're thinking of making yard-drinks a weekly or bi-weekly tradition. The weather is finally turning a little cooler, and I'm envisioning nights on the lawn with a mug of hot chocolate in my hand.
Our house might not be party house material just yet, but if you're in the neighborhood on a Monday night, you just might see some lawn chairs and the porch lights twinkling in the distance.
We're having yard-drinks, and we'd love for you to come.