I’ve been thinking a lot about neighbors lately. Since having Baby #3 I’ve been home most of the time, doing the myriad of things a baby requires–nursing, laundry, diapers, diapers, diapers. Rather than my usual on-the-go days, it’s been a quieter, slower season.
This home-centered pause has given me time to notice things about our neighborhood I would usually be too busy to see. I’m grateful.
Turns out our neighbor across the street leaves early for work. Early. As in, the sun’s not up early. Some mornings I’m rocking the baby in the living room when I see his tail lights brighten and his car pull from the driveway.
Down at the end of the cul-de-sac, neighbors who have always been shy have come out to play more often, talking and sharing their stories while our kids mingle at our feet.
Last week a few of the neighbor kids hung out in our garage, playing foosball with my sons. One asked to hold the baby and she snuggled her so tenderly, marveling at Felicity’s tiny hands and expressive eyes.
What does it mean to be a neighbor in the 21st century, when our digital devices keep us instantly connected with people around the world? What does it mean to love our actual, physical, right-next-door neighbor?
It means to show up. To listen well. To be present. It’s hard to do any of these things when we’re running at a thousand miles per hour.
The Message translation of John 1 reads:
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
God incarnate set up camp right beside us in the person of Jesus Christ. The one who created the heavens and the earth, who brought forth all things from nothing, who spun stars and galaxies into being came to live next door. God made–and makes–time for us.
In this slower season I’ve begun to learn that having us move into our neighborhood is one of the ways God wants to love and bless our neighbors. Often that’s just sharing a conversation across driveways, helping carry in a bag of groceries, laughing together as our kids shoot baskets or dig in the dirt.
Love doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive or exhausting. But it does take being present. Being here, where we are, where God has planted us.
Who is in your neighborhood?
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