On Being Neighborly
There are times when I feel I have all my ducks in a row and being a good neighbor feels natural. But there are also times when I feel exhausted and overwhelmed, and reaching out to help someone else feels like it would be too much for my weary soul. Can you relate? In honor of today being the first day of November and with the busy holiday season about to begin, here are my thoughts on how to help someone without causing yourself stress. I remind myself often that I don't always need to go "all out", but a simple kind gesture, like sending a card, can be enough.
My neighbor's wife recently fell and broke her hip. She was gone from home for over a month and her husband was left trying to make their home wheelchair-friendly for when she returned. Recently, I was loading my kids into the car and noticed my neighbor and his wife sitting on their front porch. I could have continued to load my kids in the car and drive away. Instead, I buckled my son into his car seat, told the kids I would be right back, and walked over to ask how she was doing. It wasn't much, but I could tell they were both happy to be asked the simple question, "How are you doing?" I didn't have flowers or a card or a yummy treat, but I did have a smile and this was such an important reminder to me that sometimes, simple can be kind.
I have a strong sense in my heart that hospitality is a warm blessing to everyone, no matter where we come from. Reaching out and saying hello or asking to help in a specific way is almost always welcomed with open arms.
This is something I am continually learning to do. In January, we moved from having 80 acres into town. I had neighbors in the distance, but now they are right across the street from me, to the right and the left. This has been a big change, in that I see my neighbors' needs more often now. I wrote about decluttering in preparation for moving, but I am reminded that perhaps my worries and concerns need decluttering as well. With each encounter of bringing a meal, or just a smile, I am encouraged to keep offering myself to others.
I hope you are encouraged by this post and, like me, don't feel pressured to do the biggest or most grand gesture. If you see your neighbor today, ask them how they are doing and foster the gift of hospitality in your neighborhood. I am so thankful for Take Them a Meal which makes organizing and taking meals simple. Coordinating meals for friends, neighbors and loved ones helps them immensely. As we begin November, together let's look for small ways to slow down and show those around us that we care.*images from unsplash
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