And Who is My Neighbor?

suburbia

A lot happens behind closed doors. Living in the suburbs with its many row houses, it’s easy to get lost in the monotony and predictability of life. I often wonder how my neighbors are doing. Are they happy? Are they safe? Do they need anything?…because what you see on the outside doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s going on inside.

The isolation is more apparent in the Winter when all anybody wants to do is avoid the cold. With Spring comes hope for building relationships as folks are more eager to smile and engage in conversation.

These thoughts were circling through my mind as I recently went to pick up dear daughter from daycare. On my way there, I spotted a red car parked on the side of the road with an elderly gentleman seated inside. At first glance he seemed to be asleep, so I continued on my way. Twenty minutes later, on my return from daycare, I noticed that the car was still parked in the same location.

I contemplated stopping to check on the gentleman as dear daughter screamed  for a visit to the purple slide (she’s obsessed with parks). My decision was easy: I’d rather be nosey and meddling than wonder if the man was in distress and I didn’t help.

Life today is very lonely. We all need a community. We all need to look after each other. —Yolanda Foster

So  I performed a U-turn and went to inquire on the gentleman. Turned out he was just fine. My conscious was clear and I could happily take my impatient toddler to the park.

This incident put into perspective the memorable quote from the Bible (Genesis 4:9): Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes I am. This rings especially true given the ongoing crimes against humanity: #WeAreAllHuman, #NoToXenophobia, #WeAreAfrica, #BlackLivesMatter, #147notjustanumber, #BringBackOurGirls, to name a few.

Remember the famous story of the Good Samaritan and the ensuing discussion on ‘who is my neighbor?‘ We can’t turn a blind eye to injustice or situations that warrant our compassion. We need to take care of each other even when it feels awkward, inconvenient, or unpopular.

Tell me, who is your neighbor? Is humanity slipping away?

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