As a child, I lived in a neighborhood in a small town. In an age when cell phones didn’t exist and the very idea of even young children having their own phone was unthinkable, some folks still might ask to use a neighbor’s phone. Borrowing a cup of sugar wasn’t unheard of. If a neighbor was sick, you likely took some soup. If someone was new to the neighborhood, you took a plate of cookies, or perhaps a casserole. People behaved in “neighborly” ways.
One of the “rituals” in this Oklahoma town were the gatherings in the spring when there were tornado watches. We congregated in the neighbor’s storm shelter, where we would catch up on the latest news in everyone’s lives. I did live through a few tornadoes while I lived in Oklahoma, but there were so many tornado watches that there was never a real sense of danger any of the times we took to the neighbor’s shelter. These were rather convenient opportunities to get together!
I have lived in other neighborhoods over the years. But for last thirty years before we moved here, our closest and really only neighbor, was our niece down the driveway from us. So now, once again in a small town, we have neighbors.
A great gift to us have been our neighbors across the street and down a few houses, who sometimes invite us for coffee, and to whom we sometimes extend the same invitation. They have made us welcome in many other ways, including us in activities at their home, introducing us to their friends, making us aware of opportunities in the area. I have no doubt if I needed something, they would do their utmost to help me.
We are blest with others locally who invite us to do things. Pastor colleagues have reached out to me. We just returned from a trip to Tennessee where we were reminded of how much we appreciate longstanding friendships there.
At this time of Thanksgiving, when folks make special effort to express gratitude for life’s blessings, I am most grateful for friends like these, for the friendships over the years that have enriched and sustained me.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: I discovered there are some funny quotes about neighbors. For example:
But the sweetest one I found was this: What are we doing in this world, and why are we here, if not to contribute to the wellbeing of our neighbors? St. Mary Euphrasia