He asked us to turn to our neighbor and reenact the Native American "blood brother" ritual (sans the actual blood, of course) by adjoining thumbs and saying "you are my brother/sister and I will pray for you."
Then he said to turn to the person behind us and ask them, "neighbor, do you have my back?" It warmed my heart when the sister behind me answered with an emphatic "Yes!" before I could even get the question out. When the sister in front of me turned around, our eyes locked into a smile, and no words were even needed because of the special nature of our relationship. Then the brother guarding the side door near where I was sitting turned and said, "I have your back, sis."
God had me surrounded by "neighbors"I will never forget the Christian musical, "SAM" that we performed one year when I was in elementary school. It was based on the parable of The Good Samaritan, and taught us the true definition of a neighbor. People typically tend to think of a neighbor as one who lives in close proximity of another's home, but in all actuality true neighbors are those who live in close proximity of the another's heart.
So today as I was sitting and watching the children finish out their last few days in our child care program, a lot was going through my mind. My son asked if he could walk over to the Beamon's house (our next door neighbors) because his basketball had gone over the fence...again. I told him that he could, and thought to myself "our neighbors will probably be glad when all of this is finished."
I said a silent "Thank you Lord" for my understanding neighbors who have given the green light to enter their yard whenever needed to retrieve our wayward items. Then I looked at the houses behind mine, and thought of the houses across the street in front of mine. I have lived here a long time, and known most of these families for what seems like forever.
And it began to sink in...
God has me surrounded by "neighbors"Over the course of the eight years that I have been providing child care services here, my neighbors have been very supportive. They have never complained about our mess, our noise, our drama. In fact, now that I was really thinking about it, I realize that they have been nothing but supportive.
- pretend not to notice when we are loud and unruly
- support the kids' homemade lemonade/cookie stands, annual art shows, etc.
- bring over fruit and popsicles when the weather is scorching us
- give us books and toys they feel the children would like
- let us block their driveways during drop- off time on street sweeping day
And it dawns on me that this has been their child care program too!
God has truly surrounded me by "neighbors"
Me holding the neighbor's puppy a few weeks after they first brought him home
And I pray that as I'm working, one day I will look up and see that