Community, Five Minute Friday scribblings, God's Love

Neighbor: Crossing Borders

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—NEIGHBOR. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

NEIGHBOR

One of the downsides of living in a big city is that everyone is occupied in their own lives. We’ve all heard about the neighborhoods where people drive into their garages and close the doors. Setting up borders around themselves and their families.

I miss the small town feel of neighbors standing out by the mailbox and chatting for awhile. Getting the paper for each other when one neighbor is out of town. Of borrowing a cup of sugar.

When is the last time you asked your neighbor if you could borrow something because you were in a pinch for your evening meal?

Neighborhoods should be more than a place where a bunch of houses stand right next to each other.

Neighbors should be more than people who live adjacent to us.

Says the one who has—too many times—closed her garage door because she has too much to do to stop and talk.

What if we crossed each other’s borders every now and then?

What if we decided to be brave and talk with the person at the mailbox or the person out walking their dog?

What if we reached beyond our own border with kindness and with a desire to be Jesus-with-skin-on to those around us?

How many times have you been brave and reached out, and been surprised to find genuine connection with another?

It takes risking our comfort to love others as Jesus does. We must reach beyond ourselves and care for others more than for our own convenience.

Isn’t that what Jesus did? He got into peoples’ business and offered them hope.

The woman at the well received freedom the day Jesus reached out to his “neighbor.”

If we can set aside a few minutes in our schedule to at least open up the opportunity to say hello to a neighbor, I wonder what God could do? What He might reveal to those who people our lives and live close to our borders?

The only way we’ll know is to be brave and reach out.

What about you? What sort of neighborhood do you live in? What’s one way you have reached beyond your borders to those nearby?

Click to Tweet: It takes risking our comfort to love others as Jesus does.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Neighbor

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33 thoughts on “Neighbor: Crossing Borders”

  1. Wonderful post, Jeanne. I’ve noticed a big difference having lived in South Africa compared to America. For the most part, we could just show up at someone else’s house in Cape Town uninvited and nobody would think anything of it. People borrowed things from each other all the time. Here, we go to the store and buy it, and like you said, keep our garage doors closed. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful reflection!

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    1. Kate, there’s a beautiful simplicity in just stopping by a neighbor’s or a friend’s home. Part of me wishes our society was still that way. But, maybe the fact that it’s not forces us to be intentional about connecting with people, huh? Thanks for sharing your experience here. I always enjoy your visits.

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  2. i love random chats with strangers but I would never call myself a good neighbour. I’ll talk over a fence but i tend not to do anything more than that, and get annoyed when people mind what I do too much. Not really sure how to be a good neighbour in some ways.

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  3. Oh, Jeanne, wonderful post and pictures…and you reminded me of a story…

    A couple of years ago I was outside, and I heard an ominous rattle behind me…yes, a rattlesnake, between me and the only door that was working at the time. He was not happy, and not inclined to move.

    I did the only thing I could do…went out to the road, and flagged down the first car I saw, driven by a young lady.

    “Uh, pardon me, but do you have a pistol I could borrow? There’s a rattlesnake, won’t let me in the house.”

    As you might expect, she looked a bit nonplussed, but called her husband to see if it might be alright. Then she drew a holstered .45 from under the seat, and said “I’ll just wait here.”

    After I dispatched the snake (I hate killing things) I returned the weapon, with thanks, and she said, “Well, it wasn’t exactly a cup of sugar, but what are neighbours for?”

    There is a coda to this…she and her husband live down the road, and they acquired two dogs, Kona and Max. Both were escape artists, and pretty soon they started showing up at our house for dog parties with the gang here. Itgo so that when the pair of pooches disappeared, it was assumed that they had gone for a playdate, and could safely be picked up at the end of the day, or even the next morning.

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    1. Andrew, I loved reading this story. I smiled through every word. You’ve got good neighbors. Sugar . . . guns . . . helping out when one’s in need, that’s the important thing 😉 How fun that those dogs felt welcome at your place. Thank you for sharing this!

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  4. Good morning, Jeanne, I appreciate your honesty and the call to stretch beyond ourselves, that reaching people is not always comfortable. And I love the way your pointed out the possibility of God doing big things, if and when we stretch to meet others. Have a blessed weekend, Julie

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    1. Thank you, Julie. I am learning that if I want God to use me, I need to be yielded to His promptings. Which often requires me to be stretched beyond my comfort zones, you know? I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well!

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  5. Hi Jeanne … last fall my neighbor came through the underbrush that separates our yards and asked if I had any lemons. I rustled up a little bottle of lemon juice, and she, in turn, presented me with a few beautiful gourds as a little thank you.

    We had a wonderful little chat.

    This I will remember …

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    1. Awww, Linda. How wonderful when connections are made! So sweetmeat she gave you gourds! It’s the perfect time of year for those.

      Some of our neighbors are very friendly. Others prefer to keep to themselves. We always try to be kind. We do have a couple of neighbors who seem to watch everything. Disconcerting? Sometimes. It’s usually a reminder to me to pray for them.

      Thank you so much for stopping by today!

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  6. I know what you mean. We actually have some neighbors that we are close with. Sometimes I used to want to reel my husband in from the driveway where he would be captive by a neighbor. lol.
    I find myself willing now more so to linger with people.
    I like knowing a few of the families we live right with. It is special.

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    1. Somer, that’s funny. I’m usually the one who has to be reeled in. 😉 My sons get a little cranky when I spend too much time talking with some of our neighbors. I have one with whom I sometimes text before the sun’s up, because we are both early risers. Crazy that we text our neighbors, isn’t it?

      I agree. Knowing some of the families we live with is special.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. God’s been showing me this lately. I’ve been so busy with my son’s schedules that my life has felt very small. I sense God showing me that I need to be willing to reach a little beyond where I’m reaching now and show others His love. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  7. I live in a small town in East Tennessee. Until recently, we lived “in town” in a neighborhood where I had wonderful neighbors of all ages. The young coach’s family of five; the now empty nesters (whose son was in elementary school when they moved in); the elderly couples who, more than once, drew us out of our home in the middle of the night when we saw flashing lights from an ambulance. We shared their joys and sorrows, frustrations and fears. There was a lot of front-porch sitting that found priority over otherwise busy days. Fortunately, I’m now only 10 minutes away “in the country”, but we still make sure we keep up with our friends (and they do the same with us).

    Some days, did the hermit in me prefer to drive in the garage and shut the door? Oh, yes… you have no idea! And some days I did. We respected each other’s privacy, but we are neighbors in the truest sense of the word. Looking past our differences (there were many!) and looking for the image of God in each other. The world needs more of this, and I’m so blessed to experience it.

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    1. Susan, it sounds like you lived in a wonderful community/neighborhood! How beautiful that you are being intentional to keep up with your neighbors-turned-friends. Connections can run deep, can’t they?

      Thank you for taking time to share a piece of your life here. I truly appreciate it!

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  8. Thanks for asking great questions, Jeanne! I actually live in a fantastic neighborhood – more and more diverse each year we live here, which I LOVE! Most everyone in our neighborhood enjoys being neighborly. We share watermelon and popsicle nights, 4th of July parades with decorated dogs and bikes, movies on the lawn of a neighbor and cook-outs. It truly is a wonderful feeling to live with people who genuinely care about each other.

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    1. Lisa, what a gift to live in a fantastic neighborhood! It sounds like you all have built your own community there. We’ve lived in a neighborhood like that once. It was great to get together and catch up on each other’s lives, to connect and watch our kids grow older. Yes, living among people who genuinely care about each other is an amazing thing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jeanne, it’s been forever and a day since I wrote anything for FMF. My life has been a complete distraction for several months, if not a year. My neighbors keep changing… why? Because I keep moving. We’re in the process of packing up to move again. I hope this is the last time before we move into full-time RV living. Then, when we get new neighbors it’ll be because we’ve switched RV hook-up sites. Great words of encouragement! Thanks.

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    1. Kimberly, I know how distractions in life can derail the best of intentions. I hope things are calming down a little for you. I also hope you are able to truly settle into your next home. I have other online friends who really enjoy RV’ing and the people they meet at their hookup sites. 🙂 Thank you so much for visiting!

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  10. Jeanne, I like the notion of crossing borders. It’s easy to not recognize our habits as creating borders. Resolution happens when we identify the problem. As you mentions, our culture creates a mentality of borders. There’s a hesitancy to walk on people’s grass. The more we engage, the more the boundary lines recede.

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    1. Stephanie, I didn’t really think about how our habits create borders. But you’re right. How many times have I gotten on my boys for running on the neighbors’ grass rather than using the sidewalks? Sometimes our desire to be “polite” also sets up walls that hinder true community-building. I love your final sentence—so true!

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  11. Jeanne – being a neighbor does take much more intention than it did when we were young. Borrowing sugar or an egg was natural – even welcomed – and my mom had me “run next door – quick” many times. I actually tried asking my neighbor for a missing ingredient once. It felt so awkward?!? But, we are still called to be good neighbors…..and to get involved, just as Jesus did.

    Hope you are having a great week!!

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