I had a neighbor who was black. He wanted to “marry” me when I turned 18. His best line was, “If you see some teeth floating around outside, don’t worry. It’s just me.” He liked Prince. He liked my mom. He was friends with my mom.
When I was little I had a few neighbors and they were my friends. One of them cut her foot on some glass and had to be carried by her brother to the car with blood dripping everywhere (still not squeamish). One of them found a teeny tiny baby turtle and wouldn’t let me hold it (it wasn’t like I was going to take it).
Sometimes my neighbors were my friends, sometimes they were friend’s of my siblings. As I got older I lost interest in really knowing my neighbors. I didn’t want to get caught up in their business. For instance, I am pretty sure my immediate neighbors deal weed. The ones above me smoke weed. One of the top neighbors has a baby. The tippy top neighbors have two dogs, and the ones beside them…….I have suspicions about them……they act shady. I only know the name of my immediate neighbors. I have their name and number. Just in case. However, we don’t hang out and we don’t chat. Somme of it is opportunity, but most of it is me. I just don’t want to care. Which is very unchristian like. I don’t want to care about them. Let me love them from afar…you know….without actually knowing them….so it’s a kind of theoretical love. I love the idea of them.
Pretty sure that isn’t what Jesus had in mind though. He wants the kind of love that gets your hands dirty. Where you’re knee deep in the muck. Not so much that you feel the need to carry, because that is his job,but so much where you can give sound advice and actually think of that person regularly. This sounds impossible to me because I am pretty sure I have a numerical limit for people I can actually want to care about. That might just be laziness though. I can be lazy. Or I am just afraid. But I think it’s laziness. Because if I care about people, then I actually have to CARE about them. Like give them time,share myself with them, and maybe even give them material things… The last one is not a big deal….I give away stuff all the time. Mostly it’s the emotional input/output that gets me. It’s exhausting. Even for the people I like, I find it difficult to share so much. That may be part of a bigger problem. Damn neighbors…..