Who is my neighbor? It could be someone in close proximity impacted directly by tragedy. It could be the person who loses a loved one in a fire that completely destroys his home. Such an event will be a test of your capacity to be a neighbor. I had an opportunity to reach out to a man who found himself in that very situation yesterday. And in the process, I was reminded once again of the true definition of a neighbor.
A Story of True Neighbors…
· Gracious hospitality was extended. I stood outside with the man who lost his wife and other family members, as the firefighters completed the final tasks of putting out the blaze. We all felt the January chill during the early morning hours. It wasn’t long before a lady, who lived nearby, came out and offered her home. “Please come in my home. I will cook breakfast for you, if you are hungry.” Her gracious spirit brought the offer of warmth in more ways than one. She was a true neighbor.
· Volunteers served coffee and cold water. A kind smile from two ladies volunteering with The Salvation Army could not help but stand out, as tired firefighters took a brief rest from their duties. Their offer of a cup of coffee was simple, but definitely needed. They were true neighbors to the first responders.
A Story of the Those Who are Still Learning…
· There is never a shortage of gawkers. Human curiosity has a morbid component. For some reason people are drawn to slow down and take in all of the visual details of a major accident, or in this case a fire that completely destroyed a couple’s home. Neighbors offer their home, or a cup of hot coffee on a cold morning. Gawkers stand in their yard and watch…The family feels like they are on a morbid stage for everyone to observe. It’s the worst day of their life, and they are forced to endure the first moments of their grief under the careful scrutiny of those who choose to gawk. If you are inclined to be such a casual observer, I would urge you to find a need and fill it. True neighbors are not spectators.
· There are those magnetized by social media. A person loses their home from a fire! And there has been a death in that home as well. Social media draws people like a magnet. Such news must be posted! Right? Wrong… Do you know if all of the deceased person’s family and close friends have been notified? Do you have all of the facts together? What is your post on social media going to accomplish? What is your intent? True neighbors are too busy serving the family in need to pay any attention to their Facebook or Instagram accounts.
Who is my neighbor? It could be a person in close proximity to you who is experiencing the worst day of their life. What will you offer to them on that day? Choose to be a true neighbor.