Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Wasn’t Mister Rogers the coolest? I loved watching his show with Mitchell when he was a preschooler. His calm voice, the way he changed into his cardigan sweater and sneakers and invited all his viewers to “be his neighbor.”

Whenever I see a guy in a cardigan, I call it a Mister Roger’s sweater. I just bought one for my college-age boy. I like the new “look” he’s going for. He’ll have lots of new “neighbors” in his dorm, and I bet he’ll have friends by the first night. That’s the thing about dorms and boarding schools; kids are put together in close proximity and can’t help but connect. Their families are gone so they make a family of friends.

In the world of houses, driveways and garages, people can get out of their cars and into their homes in a flash. No need to say hello to anyone if you don’t want to. While watching the TVLand show “Hot in Cleveland” I heard one of the gals say, “I only saw my neighbors during an earthquake.” Funny, but sometimes too true…

I’ve always considered myself a “welcoming” neighbor. Whenever anyone moved onto my street I would take over a plate of brownies or cookies, introduce myself, and ask if I could help in any way. Today at church our pastor was teaching on how to love your neighbor and that it is all about doing or acting-helping meet needs.

This summer it was my turn to be the new neighbor. I remember telling my daughter that people in the Mid-west were super friendly, and she was totally expecting a “proper welcome”. Two days went by before anyone stopped by. A sweet gal two doors down gave me her phone number and recommended her favorite pizza place. Next we met the family beside us. They’ve been very friendly and their son has taken care of our pets for us. But that’s it. No one else made any effort to come over. No brownies, no info about schools or doctors. We have been invited to a block party in a couple weeks where I hope to make some new acquaintances.

Am I weird because I want people to treat our family the way we’ve always treated others? The bible says in Gal 5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." I need to remember that it’s not all about me. Maybe my neighbors could use a friend but don’t know what they’ll find if they knock on my door.

It took three horrible, lonely days before my daughter suddenly got connected with some really nice girls at her new high school. Adults are sometimes slower to act… maybe I need to be more patient (one of Fred Roger’s lovable character traits) and before I know it I’ll have more relationships near my home.

Last night there were police cars and a rescue vehicle in front of my neighbor’s home. I have no idea what happened, and I don’t want to be a nosy neighbor, but I can leave a plate of cookies on their front porch to show I care.

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