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Meeting Neighbors to Love Neighbors

"And love,... Wish the world could go again with love - One cant seem to have enough" - Pearl Jam

 

I’m terrified. And I can unequivocally speak for my husband as well and say he is terrified.

We’ve lived in the same neighborhood for over six years and have only talked to our neighbors twice and each interaction lasted about 10 seconds. 

Our first interaction occurred when we were moving in. The sweet elderly lady across the street offered to let our guests use her driveway.  We smiled and said thank you but did not take her up on her generosity. And we never spoke again.

Second interaction was with the couple next door, about our age. They walk their four dogs often. One day they were strolling by our house while I was taking groceries out of the trunk. I said hello and apologized for our dogs barking so much. They said it was no problem; they apologized for their dogs barking. We now have a mutual understanding that our dogs don’t bother each other. But we never spoke again.

Rich and I now attend a church whose main mission is to be in community with one another, especially with our actual neighbors and people we come into contact with throughout every day life. We’re supposed to be learning to live intentionally, following Jesus by building relationships with others.

We want to be able to do this. 

We believe we were created to be in relationship with God first and then in relationship with one another. It is through our relationships with one another that our love for God shines through us.

Personally, I'm excited about learning about people, what is their story, what made them who they are and learning how to relate to them through our commonality and differences.

But even with this, we’re still terrified.

What if our neighbor thinks it’s weird that it took 6 years to say hi?

What if we creep them out because they’re more introverted than we are?

What if we have nothing in common?

What if they are weird and we opened Pandora’s box by saying hi?

Hmm…

But what if they are the nicest people?

What if they are as scared as we were to say hi?

What if they’ve been waiting for someone to knock on their door?

What if we’ve all been waiting for the knock, but the knock never comes?

I think God wants us to knock on each other’s doors, say hello, ask about each other’s lives and get to know one another.  Once we know one another, then we can dig deep and build trusting, lasting relationships, and have people to support and encourage us through the good and bad things in our life. 

The question isn't "how do we love our neighbor" as much as it is "how do we meet our neighbor?" 

The question isn't "how do we love our neighbor" as much as it is "how do we meet our neighbor?" 

...Or at least have someone we can trust enough to watch the house and walk the dogs when we go away for a weekend.

Next weekend there is a neighborhood garage sale. We missed the deadline to sign up but I feel we've still been given a gift from God! We are going to use it as an opportunity to go around to our neighbors, introduce ourselves in a non-threatening and uncreepy way (hopefully), and finally let people know we’re here, we care, and want to get to know them.

I can already see the sweat forming on our brows. 

So I’m asking for prayers… prayers that two introverted homebodies can step up to the plate, fake some confidence, and put ourselves out there for the sake of living our lives for Jesus, and growing relationships with those around us.

Here’s to not making fools of ourselves… Let the great experiment begin!


Do you know your neighbors? What tactics have you used to get to know people in your neighborhood?