by Diane Frederick
“Well, I guess I’ll like it, but I’m really going to miss you.” These words were spoken by Henry, my eight-year-old neighbor who I have known for his whole life and who is moving to another house.
He and his sister were born a year and a half apart and have become important parts of our lives. We are surrogate grandparents, mentors, teachers and just friends to their family. And yes, I will greatly miss them too!
We didn’t really know our neighbors back when the children were born. Our relationship was pretty much the “hi, wave, bye, tip your hat, nice day” type of neighbors. But one day my husband and I decided to try to develop something deeper and more meaningful.
Ways to serve and live in the neighborhood
We knew there were ways that we could probably serve and live in this neighborhood, so we prayed for guidance. We committed to walk our neighborhood each day while we prayed for each individual house and its members. We prayed that we could be a blessing to them and asked God to provide the way.
Gradually we began to notice little changes—a returned greeting, someone stopping at the mailbox to chat, a shout across the yards. Then we noticed our own actions—a real interest in the well-being of individuals, seizing a chance to help with a yard project, sharing my baked goodies and my husband’s expertise in auto repair, or providing a listening ear.
Gradually we began to notice little changes—a returned greeting, someone stopping at the mailbox to chat, a shout across the yards.
We are neighbors, each a blessing to the other. We have with God’s help continued into a community which supports and helps each other. And now, after my husband’s death, the neighborhood is there for me, promoting healing and wholeness with their care, concern and encouragement.
Sometimes we need to look hard to find opportunities to serve and make a difference in our communities. And sometimes God just drops the opportunity in our laps. What is Christ calling you to do in your community? How will you engage in ministry and action? How will you be a blessing?
Diane Frederick, of Casper, Wyo., served on Women of the ELCA’s executive board from 2008-2014. She lived in Oak Park Heights, Minn., when she wrote this Throwback Thursday blog in September 2014.