Life’s Front Porch

Have you noticed that a lot of houses today are being built without front porches? Years ago, we needed less square footage inside and enjoyed more square footage outside. We sat on the front porch and talked about our days. We sang together. We yelled and waved to the neighbors as they walked by. Some neighbors came up to chat. Life was simpler… and full of relationship.

Today, we are willing to sacrifice the porch for more area inside of our homes. We would rather stay inside, isolated with our families, than to be out there getting to know others. Why do you think this is?

Could it be that our society has forgotten how to have real, genuine, face-to-face relationships? Are we so wrapped up in our own families and our technology that we don’t let others into our lives? Are we so focused on our social networks that we literally lose our relational skills?

A front porch is actually what I call a “deal breaker” when we look at houses for sale. The boys have to have a basketball driveway and a backyard. I must have a front porch. A wrap-around porch would be ideal. I’m a fan. In fact, the perfect porch on our dream house would probably look something like this:

This beautiful porch opens up opportunities for lots of conversation. It lets us get fresh air. It lets us experience the life that is outside of our own little bubbles… which is what we need to be experiencing. This is something I have to continually hone in my life. See, my natural tendency is to be a hermit. I love people, but when I’m hurting or struggling, my first jump is into my own little world. Where it’s safe. But opening myself up to others… opening up the porch… well, that involves risk. But it also involves much joy that we would otherwise miss out on.

We need each other. God created us for relationship. With Him. With our families. With our friends. With those who need to find Him. In order to experience the relationships God has for us, we’ve got to get outside of our shells and reach out!

So what’s the condition of your life? Do you open up the “front porch” and let others in? Do you allow them to see the real you? Do you let them love you when you’re hurting? Do you let them in on your deepest fears? Do you allow them to laugh with you? Cry with you? Do you reach out to others who may actually need YOU?

Or are you closing yourself in… much like today’s houses, void of front porches, but full of “inside” room? Are you refusing to allow others into your world? If this is you, I’m giving you a challenge to get out of your comfort zone.

We all need a good front porch. A wrap-around even.

8 Replies to “Life’s Front Porch”

  1. Beautiful post! I love the front porch or at least being outside in the front yard where we can chat with all our neighbors walking by or playing outside. Thats how you get a sense of community! I agree that we tend to lock ourselves up with our gadgets and private lives. Thats ok to an extent, but I like to know those around me and have them know me. Life is so much more fun and exciting when we share our lives with others. I love the porch in that picture! That would be my dream porch!

  2. We have an enormous front porch, unusual for our neighborhood of mostly brick homes. While the kids shoot hoops in the driveway, the porch litters with guys’ t-shirts, empty cups, and a CD player. Sometimes, they leave enough space for me to sit on my glider chair and read… but usually, their shirts attract flies, if you know what I mean, so I retreat to the screened in porch out back. I have the best of both worlds, an inviting front porch with evening shade and a peaceful retreat for quiet mornings.

  3. Paula, I love this and can totally relate and agree with you. In CA, front porches are not considered stylish (perhaps because people there tend to keep to themselves…or at least they did in our neighborhood). But since moving to PA, I’ve seen front porches EVERYWHERE. When discussing this with my husband and how odd I thought it was, he explained that people here like to sit on the porch and talk with neighbors strolling by or watch what’s happening in the neighborhood. They put themselves out there to watch the sunset, enjoy conversation – be social!! Ever since he explained it to me, I’ve been craving a nice big front porch. I hope the next house God has in store for us will have just that, and I love the idea of a wrap around like the one in your picture. Beautiful!!

  4. What a wonderful piece! I loved the idea of the front porch and how we need to reach out to our world more, or family, our neighbors. We need to be really connected, not just by a cell phone! Thanks again!

  5. I can most definitely relate to this post, especially lately. I would like to invite others in. I like to have company at the house, talk on the phone and have face to face conversations. When my heart hurts, I stay inside my walls. When I don’t know what to do, I stay inside. This is a challenge for sure!

  6. great post! I love that house too and a wrap around porch. You are so right. Things like that reminds me of my childhood. Aside from everyone hanging out in the kitchen, on beautiful summer days we would all hang out outside on the front porch. You get to see everyone and yes, stop by when you are out walking,etc.

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