Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a neighbor. The mission trip theme is “Love Thy Neighbor” so all my morning devotionals and evening lessons have something to do with neighboring. The VBS theme is ‘Who is My Neighbor” and Philip is currently preaching on all the stories from VBS. All around me are wonderful stories of what a neighbor is, and how a neighbor should act.
Through this time of preparing for mission trip, I have been regularly thinking about the story of the Good Samaritan and what it means to truly be a neighbor to the people around me. This got me thinking about the people in my life who have been wonderful neighbors to me and my family.
My parents first house, my original childhood home, had two neighbors that were the picture of being a ‘good neighbor’.
The Mendozas, who we affectionately called Tio and Tia, fed my sister every night after I was first born so that my mom could have a break. Once I was older, they watched both of us at least once a week so that my stay at home mom and my dad, who was working three jobs, could have time together. They loved us, cared for us, checked on us and overall were the picture of a loving and caring neighbor.
Mrs. Charlotte was our next door neighbor, a fantastic woman who had lived a long life full of interesting stories. Long widowed, she would have us over for tea and stories or let us watch TV with her. While she entertained my sister and I, my mom would go out and paint her back fence. Mrs. Charlotte loved driving home and seeing her clean white fence, but because of where our neighborhood was and how her house backed up to an open field and a drainage ditch it was regularly tagged with graffiti. So, at least once a month we would go over for tea and painting. She cared for us as we cared for her.
These two households gave me a picture of how neighbors act from my earliest memories. They showed me how neighbors love with compassion and without an agenda. How they love with generosity of resources and of time. How they love through sharing of burdens and responsibilities.
I hope and pray I can find ways to be a neighbor like Tio, Tia and Mrs. Charlotte were.