Give people a chance to be good neighbors

By “Deacon G” Gautrau

From staff and wire reports
May 23, 2014 at 8:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Not many of us have lived in the same house our whole lives. We’ve experienced the trial of moving into a new residence, perhaps knowing no one on the street to which we’ve moved or even the neighborhood, town or state. It can cause feelings of loneliness or perhaps depression.

Think about it. We’ve just had to go through everything we own and decide to pack it up and haul it with us or we had to make a tough decision to give or throw things away. Some items had sentimental value but we didn’t have room to take them with us. That was a downer. Other items we couldn’t stand to part with, even though they’ll just move from one attic to another, never to be reflected on again or until the next move.

We have to put down new deposits and get back old ones. It seems the “put down” always comes before the “get back”. Sometimes that can cause a money crunch. Don’t even think about the hassles of getting new utilities, television, telephone or internet services, and perhaps new bank accounts. The list of inconveniences goes on and on.

Often our outlook is affected by the first people who come into our lives as we begin to move into our home. It could be the grouchy next door neighbor who comes to complain that our moving van might be in the way tomorrow if we’re not finished unloading; it could be the nosy neighbor who can’t wait to see the cool (or not) stuff we unbox so that they can pass judgment on our social status; or, if we’re lucky, it could be the neighbor who has come over to help, has brought snacks, drinks or perhaps dinner, and has even offered to wait for utility installers while we struggle to balance our work and move-in schedules.

When the grouchy neighbor came by, our response was, “Alright dude. If I get finished soon and don’t have anything else to do, I might move it. As you can see, right now I’m kind of busy.”

When the nosy neighbor arrived, we said, “I love taking my time unpacking all these boxes. It’s like Christmas every day. I think I’ll take the next three or four weeks to open all this stuff.” We knew that would keep him guessing for a while.

It’s easy to imagine just what types of neighbors the people above were going to be. After all, our first impressions are always right. Or are they?

Turns out the neighbor who appeared grouchy, was just trying to make sure we got our mail delivered and our empty boxes picked up by the trash man. He knew that we wouldn’t get either service if the truck remained parked where it was.

The nosy neighbor actually was there to help us with the heavy boxes and things that needed reassembling. Both were trying to be good neighbors, if only we’d have given them a chance.

The grouchy neighbor really wasn’t. He was the neighborhood watch captain who we could always rely on to take in our mail and keep an eye on our house when we left town. The nosy neighbor was actually the neighborhood “Mr. Fix It”.

Whenever we needed a tool or some help repairing something, he was the first person who came to mind and he was always willing to help. Both of these neighbors became our best friends, but only after time had passed and they were able to determine that our “move in” persona was not our true self.

And the one who came over with food and drinks, turned out to be the neighborhood gossip who knew how to loosen our lips, so that who we were, where we’ve been and where we’re going would be tomorrow’s neighborhood news. Sometimes you just get fooled!

There are reasons some people are sent into our lives. Often we don’t always know why. Someone who may not seem to have any common interests with us may have hidden talents, that if given the opportunity, may bring comfort or meaning to our lives. Since we too will be judged by those we meet, we should make every effort to make a good first impression and keep in mind St. Paul’s words to the Hebrews (13:2), “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.”

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