Earlier this week we had a play-date with one of our neighbors. Her two girls are about the same ages as B3 ad B4. We had a good time of fellowship, but it made me sad that we’ve lived here for 3 years and that’s the first time we’ve gotten together. We do have relationships with some of our neighbors. We’ve attended some neighborhood Christmas parties, some play-dates here and there, and of course we do the obligatory neighborly waves on a daily basis. But, other than getting together for the sake of the children, I can’t say that we’ve gone out of our way to make real lasting friendships.
I think of all of this as we just finished a novel this week in school called Strawberry Girl. The book was set around 1890 – 1900 it’s about two sets of neighbors that, well, don’t get along so well. Now grant you most of this is due to the drinking problem of the one father, but that’s not so important. Anyway, even though these neighbors were constantly in quarrels they were still neighbors, and they did neighborly things for most of the book. It wasn’t until one of the men killed the other’s three pigs that they didn’t interact in a neighborly way in every aspect. Including babysitting each others children, borrowing food items, gathering for get-togethers, helping each other with farm work, etc. At one point the one mother stayed with the other for several days taking care of her and her children when they were ill. Now this was strange to me. I know that these are different times that we live in, but I have no problems with most of my neighbors and I would probably never go and ask them to watch my children or even borrow a cup of sugar. In contrast I’ve had neighbors before that I would ask these things for, but why not now? Have we lost our desire to have relationships with our neighbors? Are we missing out on chances to be a help, an encouragement, or just a shoulder to cry on for other people. If we can’t be these things to people whom we live very close to, can we really be this for anyone? Is this the way God would have it? Now, I can come up with about a million reasons why this is this way, but should it be this way?
At the end of the book the alcoholic was saved at a camp meeting, and the neighbors well, lived happily ever after. So tonight I pose the question, do you love your neighbors? Do I love my neighbors?