Thursday, May 28, 2020

Hi! Are you ok?

By Sylvia Gaston

That’s what I’m going to say to my neighbors – first in a note, then . . . who knows?

You see, this is a great time to get to know my neighbors.

No, I didn’t just move in. I’ve lived in the same house for 28 years and I’ve had the same neighbors on each side of me for that entire time. Recently, one neighbor moved and I’ve barely gotten to know the family that bought their house. We know 3 of the families who live a little further down the road but not really well.

As Christians, we are to be the heart, hands, and feet of Jesus. He went out of his way to care for the poor, sick, and outcast. Jesus was all about relationships. In fact, He told His followers that the only thing more important than loving our neighbors is loving God. He also said that people would know we were Christ-followers by our love.

I’m more than a little embarrassed that I know so little about the people who live on my street so I am committing to take advantage of this dumb pandemic and do things that either A) I haven’t done in a long while, or B) I’ve never done.

In the “A” category, I have done 4 jigsaw puzzles with my family, ridden my bike for the first time in YEARS, and am painting my kitchen cupboards (yikes!).

In the “B” category, I hope to finally learn at least one song on the piano and to get to know about 10-15 of my neighbors.

My plan is to tape a note to their doors (while wearing gloves) and introduce myself and my crazy family. I will probably include a practical gift of some sort to bless them. The note will begin with “Hi! Are you OK?” and then I’m not so sure what comes after that. What I want to say, though, is . . . isn’t this is a great time to get to know each other and be there for each other? You know, be neighborly.

I have so many ideas rolling around in my head about where this might lead:
-       Encouraging notes to one another?
-       A community mailbox for prayers and prayer requests?
-       A social media group or newsletter?
-       Meet each other’s practical needs (groceries or grocery runs, errands, financial help, yard work)?
-       Share surplus goods (i.e. we will have waaaay too many tomatoes in a few weeks)?
-       Invite each other to our houses to watch church online together, once we’re able (of course, 10 or fewer people with health precautions)?

But, of course, this all depends on how, or if, my neighbors respond. I pray it leads to some great relationships and a good old-fashioned support system.