Often times, we think that in order to love our neighbors, it has to be a big action performance. We think it's like baking them cookies and arranging it in a nice basket with a beautiful bow to take to them or inviting them over for an extravagant meal. But it can be something quite simple; something they may not even notice. Sometimes, it can be something small and out of the ordinary.
With the coming of the warm weather, I've spent the past weeks weeding our front and back yards. It's grueling work; I am often on my knees pulling and digging out pesky weeds that want to soak up all of the water meant for my flowers. Between my driveway and the neighbors' is a patch of rock that stretches from the street to our backyards. Because we're on corner lots, it's hard to determine where the fence line actually runs between their house and ours. One day, I started weeding along my driveway, ignoring the part of my neighbors' driveway. But I thought about them.
When we moved in, they had a large storage container in the front of their yard and we hardly saw them. We found out from other neighbors that during the winter freeze they had a pipe burst and were living in a motel with their dog and small daughter. Every few days, they would come to check on the house. All I could think was how awful it would be to have your whole family displaced in a motel! Then it occurred to me: I realized I could be neighborly just by pulling some weeds for her. They probably weren't focusing on their yard as much as getting their house back together. When they were able to get back in again, her yard would be the last thing on her mind. So I pulled. My husband asked what I was doing and I simply replied, "Pulling the neighbors' weeds." I told him that since I was already down there on my hands and knees, there wasn't any need for two of us to struggle. She never mentioned the strip of pulled weeds, but they're back in their house. The storage container is long gone and she smiles kindly and waves every time I see her.
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