“The second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39 CSB
The neighborhood I live in is very compact. A lot of houses are crammed into a very small area. We have a lot of military that are here for a year and gone. In the seven years Ron and I have lived here, we’ve had a new neighbor each year in the house to our right. Both neighbors to our left have been here since we moved in when we got married. Where I live now, compared to where I grew up is very different. A lot of my neighbors I had as a child are still there. I didn’t know what it was like to have a constant stream of new neighbors moving in around me like I do now. But my husband did, because he was raised in the military. He was born in Japan and has lived all over the world because of his Father’s career. He has taught me how to love new neighbors well.
The first time Ron and I had a new neighbor, he immediately wanted to go over to meet them. I was too shy and afraid, I didn’t want to bother them. But I made a little gift bag and away we went, that was seven years ago. Now, as soon as we get a new neighbor, I can’t wait to meet them. I can’t wait to hear about their lives. One of our neighbors took an intelligence job in D.C., we had to be interviewed for his clearance, that was fun. One lovely couple were transferred to Hawaii. Our latest neighbors moved back to Chicago after making a go of it here with their young daughter, they just didn’t like East Coast living. Currently, their house sits empty as I wait for new friends to move into it.
As I wait for new friends, I celebrate my old ones to the left. Last year, when Ernestine, a widow, had heart surgery, I was her contact person. I will never forget the day she knocked on my door and told me I was her person. I had no idea what she was talking about, but since her children both live far away, she needed someone near she could count on, she chose me. What a privilege it was to help her through that time. Now she’s back out running the streets, bringing joy to the world everywhere she goes.
What I love most about neighbors is the opportunity to share Jesus with them. Not in words, but in actions. Our Korean neighbors behind us, we share trash duty. He always takes our trash can to the curb, we always bring his in after it has been collected. He doesn’t speak English at all, but we have managed to find a way to communicate without words. They brought us the best bread I have ever eaten at Christmas. Even though we don’t understand each other’s language, love overcomes all barriers. We are able to love each other without words, just as Jesus did.
Today, I’m thankful for my neighbors and the opportunity to practice Jesus’s love on those closest to me. What are you thankful for?