Neighborless Neighborhood

On snowy days when I am at home and I hear my neighbor shoveling I pray that he doesn’t have a heart attack while out there. I contemplate going over to help him shovel.

But it wasn’t until the other day when he had been shoveling but stopped and disappeared that I finally went a did what I always should. He was fine (Thank God!) and had just shoveled enough for his Meals on Wheels deliverer to be able to walk the driveway and steps.

While I was shoveling the Meals on Wheels man came and said “A Good Samaritan!” and I said, “No, just a neighbor.”

I was around the side of the house, out of view when my friend came to his door and was perplexed as to why/how the Meals on Wheels man had shoveled his walk. The guy said, “It wasn’t me. It was your neighbor.”

And to that my neighbor said in his matter-of-fact way that also carried the undertones of sadness, “I don’t have no neighbors.”

And then I popped around the corner of the house smiling (because I knew he’d be mad when he saw it was me) and “mischieviously” said “Hi Rich!”. And he proceeded to yell at me to not shovel his driveway. I’m sure for several reasons, one of which was he can do this himself and because he doesn’t want me “going out of my way” to help him. But I told him I was doing it anyways, besides I was almost done.

Afterwards he invited me in to see his “Lady” – an adorable golden retreiver puppy he got to be his companion. And she was small and sweet and just let him hold her and she took a nap. And Rich and I chatted for a while and after him telling me countless times to not shovel his driveway and my telling him countless times that I would I then told him to call me to shovel his driveway if there is ever a day he isn’t feeling well enough to do it… etc, nice neighborly things that I would hope neighbors still do for people — and/but also mean them! [It was fun being in a conversation that had such two-sided stubbornness 🙂 ]

So here is my reflection…

  1. How sad to think that “I don’t have no neighbors” is how Rich feels. But really it is true. If I am not going to be neighborly to my neighbor then who will fill that role? No one. As a neighbor it is my duty to be a good neighbor, especially to someone who is so in need of a good neighbor. I don’t have many neighbors based on where I live and those I have I need to make sure I am neighborly to. Ouch, not being thought of as a neighbor hurts – but I am so glad he said that so that it could spark me into being a better neighbor.
  2. I need to be a better neighbor. I do okay from time to time, but actions are more important than nice thoughts. It isn’t the thought that counts. Indeed it is the action. The next time it snows I won’t be hemming-hawingabout helping and praying that the shoveling doesn’t kill him — instead I just need to “Go and Do!”. (PS. The person who owned my house before me died while shoveling the driveway – so this is a legit fear founded on actual real life events… and I think of it/him every time I shovel my driveway.)
  3. “Am I being a good neighbor?” I need to ask myself that more often and then always determine that there is more that I could do to show neighborliness to my neighbors.

I can do God’s work and build up God’s kingdom with one shovel and 10 minutes. When I think of it that way it’s like “Bring on the snow! Let me build up your kingdom!” 🙂

“He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27

 

PS. What is the positive word that conveys the opposite meaning of “mischievious” but the same type of feeling (you know, positive mischieviousness) – that is, you are doing something good with non-nefarious plans and you’re doing it knowing it will make someone upset but you do it anyways because it is good for them? I know there has to be a word for it – anyone know what the word is I’m looking for???

PPS. I wanted to take a picture of Rich & Lady to have with this post — so maybe next time I visit him I will ask 🙂

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