I really appreciate good neighbors.  Over the years and living in a variety of places, I have experienced my share of good and not so good neighbors.  When Brad and I were first married, we lived on the bottom floor of a house and the upstairs was occupied by a single man.  Outside of the cigarette smoke that would occasionally drift down to our apartment, “Joe” was a good neighbor.  He was quiet and not a heavy-footed walker (very important if you live on the bottom floor), and we benefitted from his cable hook-up. 🙂 

After we moved to the Chicago area, we experienced several colorful characters while we were apartment dwellers.  From “John” who played his bass way too loud and too late into the night, to “Fred” who enjoyed the occasional joint, to “Sue” who babysat for us on numerous occasions, our lives were stretched and blessed by these different individuals. 

 Once we became home owners, we benefitted from our neighbors in a variety of ways from the borrowing of yard tools to various house-sitting duties.  I still remember the kind gestures our new neighbors showed us after the birth of Anna.  We had only lived in the neighborhood a few months before she was born, and yet the outpouring of gifts and care was truly humbling.

 This brings me to today and the generous help a neighbor provided in trimming a tree.  Our front yard has an Ash tree that looks like it is slowly dying.  Whenever we have a bad storm, we can count on the fact that we will lose a few branches.  After a recent bad storm, a large limb started to split.  We have watched this limb over the past two weeks hoping and praying that it would not land in our bedroom or in our living room.  I happened to peek out of the window this afternoon and noticed Brad in the tree with a hand-held saw in his hand trying to attack the split limb.  My first thought was, “Lord, have mercy.”  However, just at that moment I noticed our neighbor across the street saunter over with a rope and ladder in hand ready to work.  In the next hour, Brad and he had all the dead limbs cut and the immediate danger of the tree limbs taken care of.  (There was also a purchase of a chain saw in this hour as well.)

 Neighbors aren’t perfect.  Sometimes I want to shake my fist at them and tell them to move away.  Yet more often than not, I am truly amazed at the ways neighbors look out for each other and help in times of need.  I hope it can be said of me that I am a good neighbor.

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