Neighborly Love

31 Oct

I live in Southern California where supposedly people don’t have time for one another and neighbors don’t know each other’s names. Yet that has not been the case in my experience. As the years go by and my relationships with my neighbors deepen, I feel the power of the Gospels even though more than half the neighbors don’t attend church to my knowledge.

I can feel the love; the love is here.

This week my neighbor Bob died. He was more than my neighbor and landlord. He was my friend. I rent the house behind his and for six years he has asked me every day how I am and how my day was. He has taken me to the airport when I go on trips, fed my cats when I’m away, hung pictures, assembled furniture for me from Ikea and left pumpkins or poinsettias on my doorstep depending on the holiday. Bob wasn’t trying to seduce me or date me. He simply cared and included me in his family. I now consider his daughters and girlfriend like family.

At his memorial service today I felt the power of a neighborhood where some people have known Bob for at least twenty years. One couple at the service shared that they have been bringing him food weekly during his cancer treatments and were just planning next week’s meals when they heard that he had passed. My other neighbors who hold an annual pumpkin carving event the weekend before the holiday reflected on Bob’s life last night. Bob loved this neighborhood and the neighborhood loved Bob.

While family and friends are vital and important, sometimes the people with whom we have the most regular contact are those whom we live right next door to because physical geography connects us to others. For instance, everyone at the coffee shop down the street knows I’m the odd woman currently studying Hebrew (who doesn’t dress up to do so) and I know everyone else at the coffee shop and what they do while sipping their cup of joe. This is neighborly love.

Today at the service, I was able to lead people in prayer and to utter the Lord’s name but I grow weary of the church congratulating itself so much on its good deeds while failing to notice all the good deeds happening sometimes without literal knowledge of the gospel. There is neighborly love still alive and well in Southern California and yes, the Good News is here for God is love. And I feel so very blessed by this love for money simply can’t buy this kind of community. And at the end of the day, when we’re outcasts and oddballs, it’s so nice to be somewhere where everyone knows your name and has your back.

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One Response to “Neighborly Love”

  1. Blair Glaser (@BlairGlaser) October 31, 2011 at 1:47 am #

    Sorry for your loss, Lise. Thankful to you for this post, and for showing us that the treasure of neighborly love can and does still exist!

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