Open letter to the closed

Dear those that are closed to newcomers,

We might not be able to keep it small y’all but we can keep it charming.

The social media feed is blowing up with articles on growth projections. The yellow earth movers are moving out cattle and wildlife to make homes for people. Things are new, change is happening and you are reacting with fear, sadness, bitterness and hostility. The normal survival reaction is fight or flight to a threat. But I would like to suggest an alternative, be open.

We bought a home in Prosper, TX just over a year ago because we were charmed by the small town country feel that still reached the city convenances. It seems thousands of others have also been enchanted by the same North Dallas living spell and we are all experiencing a modern day Boom Town.

Let me reassure you, most people are moving here to embrace the culture not change it.

Let me beg you, being hostile and unwelcoming is doing more damage to this area than the bulldozers.

Let me challenge you, be welcoming and helpful to assimilate the newcomers into our precious Prosper/Celina culture. Where you can stand in the Brookshire’s parking lot and talk football with the employees who still carry out and load your groceries. Kids still say “yes ma’am” and “yes, sir” respectfully. And where you can make a new friend in line on a Saturday morning at the Cotton Gin for a cinnamon roll the size of your head.

Newcomers are filled with hope and high expectations. We can’t wait to see a real-long horn, sit under the Friday night lights and chew on brisket. People moving here are not the enemy of the way of life here, your unwelcoming attitude is. One of the hardest things about moving is going from a place of belonging to a place with few connections. Your “us vs. them” hostility is breaking someones heart. When you choose to stare instead of smile, you close the door to a potential new friend.

I get your side, really, I do, change is hard. Something is happening to your way of life that you do not have control over. But the good ole days are more about an open heart than an open field. Consider, who has a harder adjustment, the person who moves to a new culture or the person who has someone new move into their culture?

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2

Not everyone moving here will be an angel but that is why God also said to love your enemies and others like yourself. It is going to take a little extra grace and patience as newcomers move in but the way of life doesn’t have to move out. So please, will you consider dusting off your “welcome y’all” doormat and keeping Celina/Prosper a friendly welcoming place?

 

Published by Jesse Prentiss

9 Moves through 5 states in 20 years. Unpacking what God is teaching me about how HOME is not where you live but what lives with in.

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