This is one of the entrances to my neighborhood. You pass a bulky manufacturing building on your way in.
Our neighborhood is a modest, planned community with an assortment of condos, patio homes, traditional suburban family homes, and a few custom designs. Just past those telephone poles all the wires go underground. Roads curve around ponds and traffic circles. A clock tower chimes in the town square.
Near our house is a monument of a girl on a pedestal flying a kite. Wrapping around the top of the pedestal are words like ‘loyalty’ and ‘reverence.’
It’s a nice little neighborhood. When we give directions to visit we always bring people in through the other entrance, the one with the ducks and fountain in the pond. We don’t bring first time visitors in past the factory.
My friend Chris was the developer of our community twenty years ago. He said they designed it with open spaces and ponds and benches to encourage people to get out and meet their neighbors. Inspiring words on monuments were to influence the kids.
One time I told Chris I bet he hated seeing that factory on the entrance road.
“I thank God every time I drive by that factory,” he said.
A long time ago, as he was planning to build our community, Chris owned an asphalt company. One of his employees did a little creative accounting. Chris’ company ended up owing a lot of money. He was going to end up bankrupt.
But then a manufacturing company wanted to buy a piece of property on the edge of the area Chris was planning to develop. Selling that piece kept him in business and enabled him to build our neighborhood.
Without that ugly factory my neighborhood wouldn’t be here.
I’ll bet not even five of my neighbors know that.
Every time Chris drives by that factory he connects the dots between a horrible time in his past and his hopes and dreams. In between those dots is a little miracle dot that looks blah to most people.
Chris wouldn’t call it connecting the dots. He’d just say: Pay attention. Then don’t forget.
When you pay attention to your scariest moments, your hopes and dreams, and things that look blah, what do you see?