Freerange Friday: The Gift of “I GET TO”

by Lilly Lewin

By Lilly Lewin

I live in a transitioning, gentrifying neighborhood. It’s a wonderful location, and thanks to fighting a developer to try to stop over building on the hill, I’ve met a lot of my neighbors. I learned from some wise people in Oakland, that if you are the one who is gentrifying, then you need to take the time to get to know the place and people who are already in your new neighborhood. The people who’ve lived there for years and know the history and the culture. Don’t assume you know anything. Take the time to listen and learn and be a good neighbor. I heard a statistic recently that said that only a third of people actually know their neighbors! That makes me so sad. I believe the commandment to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR begins with those who are living around us!

Do you know your neighbors?
Do you want to know them?

What would it take to get to know them?
What makes you afraid to get to know them?

Maybe you live in an apartment or condo building where people come and go frequently…

Maybe you don’t have neighbors who live close by so it feels a lot harder.

Once upon a time people had local coffee shop, the pub, the barbershop, the cafe.

We use these still, but too often it’s with our computers or cell phones in front of our faces, or our ear buds in, it’s not about social interaction.
What if it was?

And that leads me to what I really am thinking about today…


My friend artist and super creative Scott Erickson has a painting framed in his studio that says


It’s a reminder of the privilege and opportunity he has to be a full time artist and creative. He doesn’t have to be out digging ditches or pouring concrete like the guys are doing next door to me right now.

Consider what you “GET TO” do in your life…
What are the things you “GET TO DO” that you take for granted?

Yesterday, as they were pouring concrete for a new house to be built next door, I was at my computer working on a writing project in air conditioning while the guys were working in 93 degree heat.
I got to walk my dog around the neighborhood for exercise (his and mine)
I got to go with my son to
see a specialist regarding a surgery he needs because has a good job and good health insurance).
I had time and space to go to my pilates class, a gift I’ve given to myself because of the heart disease that runs in my family.
I GOT to choose what I would have for lunch and dinner and it was very healthy food and dark chocolate for dessert.

I had lots of freedom and privilege yesterday and I have it again today.
Sadly, I too often forget this gift of “ I GET TO”
Sadly I moan and complain that i don’t know what’s next, or the fact that people don’t understand what i want to bring to the world.
These are all first world, “one percenter” problems. I confess that I am guilty of “the grumble” rather than “the gratitude” Too often I’m falling into the trap of NOT ENOUGH rather than receiving the GIFT of I GET TO!

What are the things that you “GET TO” do in your real world life?

What are the privileges you might be forgetting?
What are the REAL GIFTS that you get to receive today?
Even simple things like running water and indoor plumbing!

What is your “ I GET TO”? that you might have forgotten all about, or forgotten to be grateful for in your life?

I get to do laundry in my home, not at a laundromat today.
I get to enjoy sunshine and a beautiful blue sky.
I get to be with people who love me.
I get to rejoice with a good friend who is healing and doesn’t have cancer!
I get to do creative work that brings me joy
I get to be grateful for five years post cancer.
I get to enjoy a day that is a gift.

So what about you? What are you grateful for that you GET TO Do?
Let me know what you are excited about that you “GET TO” in the comments below!

And have a great weekend getting to do so many wonderful things or just doing nothing at all!

Getting to REST! That’s the best “GET TO” of all!

You can print out the PDF of the Coloring Sheet of I GET TO that I designed, and use this to pray with as you color…consider all the things you GET TO do in your life! How can you plan to see these GET TOs as Gifts this summer?


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1 comment

Corrine Lund May 26, 2019 - 3:41 am

I so do agree with your words and thoughts. I remember when sharing a day with neighbors was just what we did.! I struggle with all that as an ‘I get to’ am able to do….was I just born ‘lucky’? I don’t think that is it. I, too, am a cancer survivor. I have a home and groceries and a warm bed at night. Being in the ‘I Get To’ family brings responsibility we can’t ignore.
Thank you for your words and thoughts…and reminders. There is lots to do in helping others ‘Get to’ live a blessed life.

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