Last week my family and I went to our 5th year of church camp. The camp is for families and the theme is always missions. Typically, when we come home from that, our worldview is broad and we have our minds re-centered on God’s priorities. This year, I felt I could no longer ignore God’s clear command to me to literally love my neighbor (whom I’ve talked about in previous posts).
Well, the rest of the family was out and I was home alone getting ready to go into the office. It dawned on me that this was the perfect opportunity and likely my last chance this week to stop over and actually ring his doorbell. Of course I was meeting much internal resistance. However, I couldn’t bear to think of the disappointment I would feel in myself if I passed up this opportunity.
I loaded up the car with my work stuff and then walked out to check our mailbox because we sometimes forget to do it the day before. At the empty mailbox, I got a view of my neighbors house. I was hoping he’d by chance be outside. But no – it was all up to me. The next thing I knew, my feet were walking down the street. Now or never, I thought.
I walked up the driveway and down the sidewalk to his door. I rang the doorbell. My heart was pounding. I didn’t know why I was so nervous. I was not worried about intruding or interrupting. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t really do anything. I heard the doorbell ring inside. I took a step back and waited. You know the relief you have when you call someone and get their voicemail? It was like that. He never came to the door. I felt both relieved and bummed. I had finally gotten the nerve up to do it and he wasn’t answering. I went back home and decided to leave him a note to let him know I stopped by and to leave my number and email.
After writing the note and getting in my car to pull by his mailbox, I saw him. He was outside looking at his sliding patio door. I pulled in to the driveway, parked and turned off the car. Here was my chance.
He had not heard the doorbell. I asked him how he was doing today he said “not good”. We were able to chat a bit. I asked him some questions about his life and found out he can eat normal food (he has some issues with his digestive system due to having cancer). I told him we’d like to having him over sometime. He thanked me multiple times for stopping by and was happy to know that we think about him time to time.
The man has nothing. Could it be that we were put her for such a time as this? How, now, can I ignore him? I got in my car and immediately felt the irony of leaving my neighbor to go to my office to do church work. In the car I almost cried. The man has nothing.
We don’t live in the inner city. We live in a regular middle class neighborhood. Who else is out there behind closed doors slowly inching toward death. Who out there has resolved that no one cares and they will always be alone? All we can do now is ask God what he needs us to do next.
What’s sad is that I’ve been a Christian my whole life and yet I’m new at this love your neighbor thing.