Ziplock Bag of Cherries
I love being a neighbor. I love the small talk and I love the sense of belonging that 100 brief “weather-related” conversations create. But mixed into those light-hearted conversations come moments that truly inspire me. Today our 80-year-old neighbor brought me over a ziplock bag of cherries…he said he thought about me when he had too many. Seriously? Who does that? Who looks at how much food they have and then thinks about simple ways to give it away?
Now, we think about him too. On Valentines day the girls brought him over a Princess Valentine and when it was his birthday we colored him pictures. Believe me, I think he is a far better neighbor than we are, but still, we make our half-hearted efforts.
All this was made more substantial in my heart this week when we returned from our California trip to see our other neighbors home empty. There was (is) a giant pile of items on the front grass and an empty house. The pile includes mattresses and baby dolls and a blow up pool I saw them swim in last memorial day. And now they are gone.
It makes me sad…and makes me think. It makes me wish I was more of a neighbor. Sure, we invited their daughter over to play, and sent them some “welcome” cookies. We talked to them about their new baby and about our church, but, what more could we have done to know them? To make them feel “known?”
I am fairly confident we will never see them again (word on our street is that they moved to the midwest). And this fact inspires me to be an even better neighbor the next round. To seek out potential needs, to share excess food (thanks Charlie, for that life lesson) And, as a family, consider others’ needs above our own.
Because while I say I love being a neighbor, maybe what I should really say is (if I am perfectly honest)…I love being a neighbor to those who are good neighbors to me.
And somehow that sounds like a contradiction to Jesus’s teachings.