Recently, I was sharing with a group of folks about the Neighboring Movement and some of the impacts of getting to know our neighbors. After my presentation I had two people share with me their experiences of neighboring. The first person shared how she and her husband have been intentionally meeting their neighbors for many years. They always introduce themselves to neighbors with a fresh batch of homemade muffins (wouldn’t you love to be her neighbor?). Her comment to me was, “getting to know our neighbors has enriched my life so much! I can’t imagine not taking the time to get to know my neighbors now!” I couldn’t agree more.
The second person I talked to told me the story of one of her neighbors whose son was addicted to drugs and had been dealing drugs out of the house. On their block, it was simply known as the drug house. Her comment to me was, “I realized today that the mom living in that house is a person. We haven’t taken the time to learn her story or anything about her. We’ve just written them off as the drug house people. I’m going to find a way to meet her and get to know her a little bit better.” Wow! Those are challenging steps to take. But can you imagine how our world might change if more folks were as courageous as this woman and took the time to reach out to those we have written off or marginalized for various reasons?
My take-away: neighboring is challenging and enriching!