Monday, January 12, 2009

Service on Four Wheels

Have any of you ever looked around your neighborhood and thought, “I really need to get out and get to know my neighbors”? But it’s hard because life is so busy and there’s always something to keep you from being as social as you’d like. Or maybe you can’t find the opportunity aside from just going up and knocking on their door and it’s difficult to be that outgoing. So how can you get to know your neighbors? How can you build that bond of friendship with your neighbor which hails back to the types you saw in the little town of Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show or I Love Lucy?
Service. This is how you can get to know and love your neighbors.

As many of you know, I recently gave birth to my third child. Our first little boy brought much excitement to our home and the biggest appetite I’d ever seen—compared to his two sisters. For the first two months of his life I felt like an Egyptian mom, that is a Mummy or the ‘walking dead’. I was also known as “Franken-mom” for Halloween and delirious was the best way to describe me if you wanted to be descriptive. Dawson slept and ate in one hour intervals and I loved cuddling with him and taking care of that darling baby—but boy, was it difficult!

In fact, on Halloween, we were eating lunch with my husband and I told him that I was “Franken-mom” and to look at my eyes. He said, “Yeah, they look pretty bad.” Our five-year-old, Gracie, looked at me and said, “What? They’re just green and red.”
So I was pretty tired and all that other stuff that comes with being a new mom. But I want to tell you about a few of my neighbors who went out of their way to serve me and who I feel have built a lasting friendship because of this.

Several neighbors brought meals into our home to help us after Dawson was born. Several also had my girls come and play at their house for a few hours. I especially feel close to one of my neighbors who called me one day when Dawson was about 8 weeks old and asked if my girls could come and play at her house for the afternoon. She also had a new baby just one month older than mine and at first I thought I should refuse because of this, but then the backs of my eyes started to burn from lack of sleep and I thought about how you’re supposed to let others serve and gladly agreed.

When she came to pick my girls up, I thought I might cry because I was so, so exhausted, yet so grateful. Even though they were only gone for two hours—it was enough time to lay down with my baby and get a much needed nap and it let me know that someone cared about me and knew what I was going through.

Two of my neighbors took over the carpool for our little kindergartners for almost three months. For some people it may be hard to imagine just how wonderful an act of service this is. For others, you know exactly how wonderful it is. It’s hard for anyone to get the kids ready and out the door on time for school, but adding a newborn baby to the mix in freezing temperatures made me greatly appreciate how kind my neighbors were to pick up and drop off my daughter to school. They didn’t ask for anything in return, and maybe they didn’t feel like it was even that big of a deal since they were taking their kids already. But it was a big deal to me.

I love my neighbors and I love them more because they showed their love to me by serving. It was service of many kinds—on four wheels, with two hands, and loving hearts.

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