Thursday, April 3, 2008

Won't You Be My Neighbor? -- Hope Chronicles 31

He called us friend and put on house slippers and a cozy sweater. He talked to us (but never down to us) and took us on make believe adventures. I'm dating myself, but Mr. Rogers was an integral part of my early life. And he always asked, "Won't you be my neighbor?"

We weren't close to a lot of people growing up, but I did at least know who my neighbors were on the left and right and catercorner and across the street and several houses up . . . . I knew who the parents were and which kids to avoid and who might want to play a game of tag.

It appears that it is less and less like that today. I live in a row of town houses. I know the people on either side and a couple down the alley but not many more than that. Still, I was totally caught off guard by two calls today at the office.

I work in the county recorder's office with deeds and mortgages and all that type of stuff. A gentleman called up and wanted to know why the site needed a password and user id. (It was locked down last summer due to social security numbers being on older mortgages and miscellaneous documents.) I explained how he could get a user id and password. As part of the process I asked him what he might be using the site for. "I want to know who my neighbors are," is the answer I got. Hmm. Apparently, each year, for some reason, he takes a survey of the names of the people who live around him.

Not 10 minutes later, I got a call from a woman who said that the house next to her had been foreclosed on and she wanted to know which bank now owned it. I told her that to do a search I would need the parcel id number or the name of her former neighbors. She had no clue as to the name of her neighbors.

Hmm for second time in a day. Hmm. Seems like a plate of cookies and a handshake would do more than looking on line.

But, perhaps, I'm not the best one to talk. While I do know a few people, I don't know them well. Even at church I can be reserved.

Every Sunday we have KidStuf -- the children's church. I've been helping with that. There is singing and dancing and laughing and skits. It's great fun. I'm not particularly coordinated. So, sometimes I skip the dancing. But lately I've been taking pictures and when you are up front taking pictures you are more visible and it's more conspicuous if you stand there like a bump on a log.

But a couple of times, we have done a partner dance. And though I would like to duck out, I've noticed a child without a partner. I can overcome my fear of being a klutz to make a child smile, so I've found myself ducking less and dancing more.

I need to have the same perspective with "big kids." My thought with the children is always, "What can I do to make them happy or more comfortable?" Now what if I translated that to the adults around me? I think it would pass along hope in little ways.
And wouldn't Jesus say that everyone is our neighbor? So, friend, "Won't you be my neighbor? I'd like to get to know you!"


Elizabeth said...

This is just the post my roommate needs to read. She thinks it is crazy that I found your blog and am now a frequent reader. She is also quite jealous that I found your blog, read it, and won a gift card from it. So neighbor, I have learned a lot from what you have said and in the next few days I am planning to write a little about what has happened to me recently and what God has been showing me.
Hope all is well in your part of the neighborhood.

Heather@Mommymonk said...

It's wierd how disconnected our society has become. I tried to meet my neighbors in my little village when we moved in, but there are still people on my street that I don't know.

It's easier to get to know kids or families with kids. I've been amazed at how many more evangelistic opportunities have come my way because of my kids.