If there is a consistent theme in my preaching and writing, it is relationships. GOD is Father, Son and Holy Spirit…relationship. The whole of Scripture comes down to “love God and love others”…relationship. So I am a bit embarrassed to relate the following story of how I did not do a good job of living what I say is so important.
I stopped by a local Chinese restaurant for lunch. I’ve frequented this particular establishment many times over the past few years. The food is good, the service wonderful and the prices right. They even have a scripture of the day posted on a dry erase board as you enter.
As I said, my stop wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. The servers greeted me as they always do. I was invited to find a seat. No, I don’t need a menu.
The woman who came to take my order asked if I’d like what I usually get? General’s Chicken ordered, I settled in to wait the few minutes it would take to make my food.
The server approached and asked where I lived.
Okay this was not our normal exchange of pleasantries. We have talked about church. We have talked about ESL classes. We have talked about the weather. But where I live? This was new.
Turns out, after a bit of awkward quizzing, this woman who I have been seeing at the Chinese restaurant for the past few years is my neighbor. My literal neighbor. She lives just across the street.
I’ve waved at her a number of times. I’ve talked with her husband. I’ve probably seen her coming and going quite a few times, but we had never made the connection.
That is until I came in to grab a quick lunch at the reasonably priced Chinese restaurant.
She finally got a close enough look to recognize me and when I came in she was ready to confirm my identity.
We laughed and talked and marveled at how we finally connected the dots. I was so glad to know something more about this neighbor from across the street; this server I have chatted with a bazillion times.
And I left equal parts happy and sad.
It was good to make the connection, but how disappointing it took so long to be made.
I was/am reminded this “love God and love neighbor” thing takes work. You have to pay attention. Relationships may happen accidentally, but more often than not, they happen as we are intentional about making the connections.
May we all be fortunate enough to see our neighbors (especially the right next door ones) sooner than later.
Life is better together,