Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
The question always arises: Who, then, is my neighbor?
The Bible, in Mark 12:31, tells us we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. I think we all understand self-love, although the notion of low self-esteem is prevalent. The fact is, we do love ourselves. Unless there is some sort of mental health dysfunction, we take care of ourselves. We sleep, we eat, we bathe, we shave, we comb and groom. We see a doctor if something hurts or we just generally don’t feel very good and that ennui doesn’t go away.
So, what if we were to extend the same basic care we give ourselves to our neighbors? And does that include the absolute grouch two houses down who screams at your kids if they touch a blade of his precious grass? Does it include the gossipy woman across the street who doesn’t really care, but who just wants to KNOW stuff?
I think it is especially the grouch and the gossip; and yes, even a homeless, drug-addicted alcoholic.
We live in a really pleasant neighborhood. Not a wealthy one by any American measure, but pleasant. The people on either side of us have been here since before we moved in. We’ve had new neighbors every now and then across the street, but for the most part this is a settled neighborhood full of people just like us–approaching retirement (well, we’re really past that, but we’re still working, as are many others our age). Our kids are grown and gone. There aren’t a lot of little kids nearby. It’s usually quiet. People keep up their yards and their houses. To my knowledge, there isn’t a grouch or a gossip.
They all are, however, human. They are people who carry all the baggage of the human condition, and who sometimes need a helping hand. Terry does better with all that than I do, especially in the last 2 1/2 years of the saga of my back pain. I could barely help myself for quite a bit of that time.
And now I’m rambling, but I think you’ll identify my point. Most of us don’t do a superb job of being neighborly. When I was a kid, it was different. Better. Now, we tend to isolate from each other, offering a nod or a wave, but not much more than that. I’m pretty sure that if I needed help and Terry was unavailable, the men on either side would gladly come to our aid. Beyond that, I’m not so sure.
What’s worse, I don’t know if they see us as people who would reach out to them if they were in trouble. I could be wrong. I hope so.