How well do you know your neighbors?
Between Halloween and Easter, especially during the heart of winter, there is minimal contact with those who live the closest. We drive our cars into the garage, close the door and never see each other for several months.
But this winter, I’ve had more contact with my neighbors because of the snow.
Pre-Christmas snow in early December started it all. Oh, we do have neighbors in the winter! But that all melted and we had a brown Christmas. Then that 12 incher the first week of January brought us out of our fortress homes again to deal with snow in the driveway. It was a big enough task to keep us outside long enough to work in tandem with our neighbors, enough time to take a break from the scraping sounds to lean on our shovels and actually talk to each other. Addressing a common challenge gave a context for interaction.
Another neighbor had mercy on me after the city created a heavy ridge in front of my nicely shoveled driveway. He walked his snow blower down the street and accomplished in a few minutes what would have taken me an hour and given me a sore back. I offered to pay for his services, which he soundly rejected. I guess he knows it is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35. I was sure blessed with receiving. I hope he was blessed in giving. I wonder if he knows that God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
Then, just yesterday, after another 8 inches of snow, I tackled a little bit of my 6 car driveway (3 wide, 2 deep), then disappeared into the house for breakfast, and a leisurely read of the paper over coffee. Reappearing outside to tackle the rest of the job, I discovered that the same neighbor with the snow blower had already come and gone, clearing the rest of my driveway. I never heard a thing, but I know it was him because of the narrow path on the sidewalk between his drive and mine.
Then, yesterday afternoon, I decided to back my rear wheel drive sedan out into the yet unplowed street to run some errands. Forget it! I was stuck in the middle of the street, got out of the car, shoveled the wheels clear, tried again, moved a few feet, tried again, not much progress. Not sure I’ll make it, shouldn’t have tried to leave the driveway. I should have taken my wife’s front wheel drive, a vastly superior snow plow than mine. But guess what? Neighbors to the rescue. Two women saw my plight and put their strength to the back of my car, speeding up my release from snow bondage.
When I returned about an hour later, the city plows had served our street; and of course the new ridge of packed snow blocked my driveway. I couldn’t believe it. One of the woman who pushed my car out of the snow was now attacking the snow ridge that blocked, explaining as I drove up, that she knew I needed to get through.
What servant hood! I don’t deserve such nice and gracious neighbors; they are God’s gifts to me; wonderful examples of God’s uncommon grace.
Have you thanked God for your neighbors lately?