Welcome to the Neighborhood

Dave and I spent Thanksgiving in Georgia with family and had the opportunity to see Brent and Becky begin to decorate their home for Christmas. The kids live in a new development where they enjoy their neighbors. A couple across the street has two girls, 4 and 9 months, so the girls formed a friendship as did their parents. On Friday evening our daughter-in-law introduced Little Stuff to a “seasonal member” in their neighbor hood–Mr. Penguin. “Glad to know ya. Mr. Penguin. Merry Christmas,” the two-year-old said in greeting. The inflatable, lighted lawn bird really captured the toddler’s attention, so much so that she gave him a big hug before coming inside for dinner. Watching Little Stuff, I began thinking about neighbors.

We now build back decks and not front porches. In the suburbs we jump into the car at o’dark hundred, battle the commute, work long hours in cubicles, and often bring work home at night. Once we’re through the front door, we close it, hunker down for the night, and repeat the pattern the next day. The weekends overflow with errands, sports, and church. We have neighbors, but “Who is my neighbor?” is not simply a question for Bible times. Jesus told us the two great commandments: to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and strength, and to love our neighbors as oursleves. We have no problem loving ourselves; we do that on autopilot! But in what ways do I love my neighbor?
We now live on Winding Ridge, a development — and I use that word lightly — of about 15 homes. Seven of us live here year round; the others have vacation homes here. At the annual association  meeting, we gather together for a shared meal and a business meeting. I actually know more of my neighbors here than I did when I lived near Annapolis. Within the last three weeks, 5 of us have gathered for spur-of-the-moment dinners together. I like that and find it a simple way of getting to know our neighbors. So I find myself thankful for Little Stuff’s exuberance over Mr. Penguin because it jostled my thinking.

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