Church Life

All Cones, All the Time

The Cone 001
 (Okay, I've had another day to think about it. This is what will go out in the church email today.)

The other day a cone appeared on our street, a
little orange traffic cone.
I find cones amusing, and I hope *you* will find it
at least a little funny to think of your pastor as a member of a roving pack of
sorority girls who went around the campus at the College of Knowledge, once upon a time,
collecting cones of all sizes to leave outside the door of our friend
Connie, nicknamed "Cone" after Connie Conehead of Saturday Night Live fame. In
the dormitory hallway, they stood in a line, until the Resident Advisor saw them
and suggested a call would be made to the campus police if they did not return
to their more appropriate environments.
The cone on my street sat on top of a manhole cover
directly in front of our driveway, and I wondered for a moment if it didn't mean
something significant, until I looked further down our dead-end street to see a
line of four little bicycles, complete with training wheels, in the start position
for a big race. Mothers and children watched me pull into the driveway, and when
no cars stood in their way, the race began.
I'm in favor of outdoor exercise for children, but
I have to admit I wasn't thrilled to notice the cone back on the manhole cover
when I woke up yesterday morning. No children were in sight at the hour of 6
a.m. Someone had left the cone out, unattended, never bothering to consider that
it might be in someone's way. I pondered the possibilities and eventually put
the cone on the grass just across from the manhole cover, safely out of harm's
way: harm to itself or irritation to me as I swung around to miss
I spent the day wondering what I do that might be
aggravating to the people in my neighborhood? Jesus had a lot to say about
neighbors and about enemies, too. He wanted us to love all of them. I don't
always find that easy to do, on my street or in the world. And sometimes church
presents us with the greatest challenges of all. Anytime a group of people
gather, there can be frustrations and disagreements, and it's even more true
when people care deeply about their purpose for being together.
My neighbors got the message. When I came home last
night, the cone had returned to its proper residence, somewhere down the block:
no calls to the police, campus or otherwise, required.
May we be as good at taking each other's hints and
as gentle at responding to each other's failures.

7 thoughts on “All Cones, All the Time”

  1. My personal fave is the neighbor who plants a bush blocking my vision of the street as I back out. I, of course, am the perfect neighbor. BTW, anyone who sees a good sermon illustration in the traffic cone has little choice about her vocation! Thanks for your recent visits to my blog. jh

  2. On Thursdays our garbage dumptser gets emptied. The garbage is next to the pastors’ parking spaces and cones are set out so that we don’t park in the way of the dumpster. That’s fine, however the garbage collectors put the cones back in our parking spots rather than putting them next to the dumpster after they are done.

  3. As a regular ‘borrower’ of stuff normally used for safety and signage, I chuckled at our shared history and glad your irritation got removed.
    Thanks too for reminding me to be more gentle with self and others in the face of disapointments and short-comings.

  4. our first day in our new house, our neighbor across the street came over, I thought to say “welcome to the ‘hood” but really to say “NEVER park in front of my house!” It was rather surprising, but in 11 months that has been my only communication with him….I could be irritating him in all sort of other ways, I guess, and wouldnt know.

  5. HERE I AM!
    Great post as I have mended fences here with the neighbors both figuratively and literally.

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