Not too long ago, Jeremy (my husband) and I installed a Little Free Library in our yard. For those who aren't familiar, Little Free Libraries are little houses or mailboxes full of books, free for use for all your neighbours. The idea is that anyone can take a book and leave a book, or just take a book and read it and return it when you're done. We had a couple of these little libraries in the neighbourhood where we used to live, and we always loved the simple sense of community they infused into the streets. Having a Little Free Library always felt like a little statement of love from one neighbour to another.
So, when we moved into our new neighbourhood here, we knew we wanted to do that. We have a pretty active neighbourhood with lots of kids, and our house sits on a well-used walking route to the elementary school just behind our house, so it's a great place.
But to us, our Little Free Library is much more than a little green house full of books that our neighbours can borrow. First, it's a fun, creative way for us to build relationships with our neighbours. And that's happening, a bit. Two teenage girls stopped me as I walked down our street the other day and thanked me for putting our library up - they said it was such a cool idea, and they were so happy to finally read The Fault in Our Stars. (Ha!) And we've had other, small, easy conversations with neighbours who come to see our library.
But even more, our Little Free Library is a little act of love for our neighbours. It's a little showcase of grace. A small way to infuse a little greater sense of community here on our street, to show our neighbours we love them, and encourage them to love each other. It's a way to be a good neighbour, and to help our neighbourhood become a little bit better place.
So, this afternoon, I came home to learn that while I was gone, someone from Oshawa Public Libraries had visited our home, after hearing about our Little Free Library. She brought with her a thank-you note from the CEO of the library system, as well as a sign sort of endorsing and celebrating our Little Free Library from the public libraries. AND, Oshawa Libraries launched an Instagram account today, and our cute little green house of a library is their very first post!
This all seems so small and simple - just a little house with books in it that our neighbours can read. Just a note and a sign from Oshawa Libraries showing support for that house. But to me, it symbolizes so much more. When we love our neighbours - just as Jesus called us to do - even the smallest, simplest acts of love are a foretaste of the great Love that God has for us. The incredible, eternal Love that He gives us today and every day.
And when we freely give that love to others, just as it was freely given to us, you never know how and where it can spread.