Tag Archives: being a friend

How Do I Love My Neighbors If I Don’t Even Know Their Names?

22 Nov

Note: I’m writing this after reading Kristin’s blog about how we’ll go far away to serve people we don’t even know but the people who live among us, we really have no clue about.

I have to admit something that I’m not proud of. I don’t know my neighbors. Considering I’m a follower of Jesus and Jesus said to love your neighbors, I find it embarrassing that I only know of Susan down the hall from that one time I was trapped in the laundry room with her when she was blocking the exit.

I live in a condo (apartment for me) and I don’t know very much about any of those who live amongst me. I find it sad. Sometimes I try to wave at people when I’m leaving. But is that really enough? I’m not trying to be hard on myself, just trying to figure out how I can spend months trying to go to the Czech Republic where I met amazing students and yet, I have no clue who lives next door to me. My mom went to the movies with one of her elderly neighbors the other day because that lady was lonely and having a hard time. I see people near the mailboxes sometimes but most of the time they are on the phone or I’m about to go back to my very important task of Facebook stalking so I’m too busy to concern myself with them.

This Thanksgiving I’m asking the question, “How do I love what’s right in front of me?” It’s so easy for me to get all excited about the possibility of loving people across the world. I talk to a few friends in the Czech Republic frequently. And, I have to admit I was totally jealous when my cousin who is a pediatrician, told me that she was going to Kenya in a few weeks on a medical mission! Oh how amazing that would be! Of course it would in my idealized mind. I’m sure it’s going to be hard. But when you go to Africa to serve others, it’s definitely seen as selfless. I’m guessing the harder work, and the work that I’m now being called to, is checking on my neighbors and actually forming relationships. It’s investing in my co-workers. It’s not being too tired to listen to a friend who really just needs my ear and not my well-worded answer about how she should do this or that.

I don’t have any easy answers. I’m just wondering, how do I tangibly love my neighbors more? What does that realistically look like? Is it a knock on the door? Is it more than a wave? Maybe I could just bake some cookies? Could being a neighbor really be that simple? I think it might take time to become a good neighbor. Maybe I should ask Mr. Rogers. Or you. What do you think it means to be a good neighbor? How do you love your neighbors?

%d bloggers like this: