Where are the Neighbors?

This weekend D, my husband, took down two trees in our yard. We have 5 trees that need to be taken down in total. Three of them are huge maple trees which had been sorely mistreated by previous owners. (Just a reminder: Do not put retaining wall bricks around trees while they are young. It may look pretty now, but it does not bode well for the tree.) Those large 30 feet tall trees will be coming down in the next week. I could do a whole post on how to plant trees, but I am not sure people want to hear that. It’s title would be, Mulch is Not to Look Like a Volcano.

The other two trees were a crepe murdered (Google Crepe Murder, it’s not pretty.) Crepe Myrtle and an American Holly tree. Both of which were planted by the original builder of the home, WAY TO CLOSE TO THE HOUSE. Trees that can grow 30-40 feet tall should be at least fifteen feet away from the house. It is a recipe for disaster people. The holly’s roots were completely up against the foundation of the house and that could be dangerous. So D and I heave-hoed to the tree to the ground yesterday and the Crepe Myrtle was taken down after church today.

All of this back story is to say, I miss the old days. I miss the days when neighbors helped one another. As a family that moves often, we do not have the family and friends around to help when it comes to household projects. We also have a hard time asking for help as we know that everyone is so busy. We have only lived in the neighborhood 6 months and so we don’t know our neighbors well, but I’m wondering if they saw us doing a project, would they come and help? I think we, as Individualistic Americans, have become so “me” centered that seeing neighbors doing a huge project means nothing. We have our own things to do and we don’t want to spend our time working on something for someone else. D and I love to work on projects ourselves, we don’t have the bank account to hire anyone most times and we more often than not do a better job than a professionals. It’s our home, we have to live with our mistakes. We have vested interest.

I have to ask myself the question, do we have vested interest in others lives as well? For the sake of others, would we offer to help our neighbors do a project? For the sake of friendship? Is it worth it? And deep down, we have to ask ourselves, for the sake of God’s glory, is it worth it to take time out of our day to help our neighbor despite losing our time, and not gaining anything material?

When we have a project, it’s hard asking for help. It’s also hard asking if we can help. I encourage you, during the Lenten season, maybe give up time, and offer to help a neighbor. It doesn’t have to be an elderly person. It just may be helping clean the house or cook a meal. The person may be capable of doing it themselves, but maybe do it just to spend time with them. And I know that cleaning with someone is WAY more fun than cleaning by yourself. Maybe the neighbor may turn out to be a kindred spirit. Because I know that in these days, kindred spirits are hard to come by.

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Shelly Miller



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