Fishing Stories: The Introvert Neighbor

Looking east from Copper Mtn. on back side.
Looking east from Copper Mtn. on back side.

Our house in Colorado sat on the corner of a cul-de-sac. The neighborhood was full of kids and knew how to have a good time. Halloween consisted of going from house to house for candy for the kids, a Margarita or “Adult Hot Chocolate” taste tour for the adults. They decorated for Bronco games. Always looked for an excuse to shut down the block and have a party with the whole neighborhood. Snow days at school meant sledding, igloos, and snowball fights.

We were close with both of our neighbors – both next door and across the street. Both had two kids with moms who were very outgoing and loud. It was not uncommon to see them sitting in the driveway come Friday afternoon with the ‘box-o-wine’ between them as they watched their kids play. The Next Door Dad was very friendly and helpful. The Across Street Dad was much more of an introvert. We all took turns watching each other’s kids if a grocery store run was needed.

The Across Street dad was quiet but over the course of a year with me helping them with their computer and him using his snowblower whenever we got 8 inches or more of snow, we became pretty good friends. Borrowing tools, helping with a project, fixing a fence – I enjoyed his company but he conserved his words. His wife constantly told us – “this is first friend he’s had” meaning me which shocked me seeing how I think he had said a total of 450 words to me.

I had a free ski pass as part of my season pass to Copper Mountain. I told Amy – I’m going to take him skiing with me. Ask him about his faith. Amy replied – “Awesome. What else will you talk about after that 3 minutes?”

I made the plans, had a bunch of questions ready for him. We loaded up the car – him a snowboard, me my fairly new mid-fat skis – and headed to Copper Mountain. I’d prayed for this day for weeks just wanting an opportunity.

As we pulled out of the neighborhood, he asks me – “Ok, been wanting to have a conversation with you for months about this. Glad we’ve got all day. Why is God so important to you? I get Jesus was an important teacher but is he really much more than that? And is your religion really the reason you have such a great family?”

Really, God?

We talked the whole drive up. On every lift. At lunch. On the way home. He was seeking. As we pulled into the neighborhood, I asked him – “Now what?”

“I’m not ready to make a decision on all this – if that is what you are asking.”

“No – I was actually thinking why did we wait so long to have this kind of conversation? We live across the street from each other. We can talk like this all the time, you know.”

Fishing is about being there. It’s about developing friendships – not for the purpose to ‘sell’ them Jesus but for the purpose of they need a good friend. People may have work buddies, golfing buddies, ski buddies, game buddies but eventually they need somebody to talk about parenting, marriage, insecurities, and frailties of life.

Boldness then is speaking up in those moments on the foundation of a friendship. Boldness is screaming on a street corner. It’s not passing out tracts to those passing by. It’s bolding having a friendship with people who are lost and speaking into their lives at the opportune moment.

So Christ-follower – be the right kind of bold. Be a great neighbor, a good friend. And pray for those moments and speak boldly WHEN they come.


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