I love my neighbor ~ She lets me borrow her dog sometimes.
I do not want to own a dog. I do not like dog poop. I also must keep myself alive, my child alive, the cats alive. I have way too many things to keep alive. Dogs are great. I would probably kill one.
One day, I would say, "Where is the dog?"
My son would say, "We have a dog?"
I’d reply, “Yes, I have your handwritten note, right here, where you promised to feed him, bathe him, and scoop his poop. Signed, and marked with blood and tears.”
He would shrug and walk away, feigning deafness.
I always keep the neighbor's dog alive for the ten minutes of supervised visitation. I do note I am being supervised. I also love my neighbor for her wisdom. I always say thank you and hopefully express how very much I enjoy my time with her and her gorgeous puppies!
I love my coworker ~ When I email her, she responds swiftly and kindly.
I tell her good morning. We joke about making it to Friday. We help each other do our jobs efficiently. I came to love her so much, in fact, that we no longer are coworkers, we are now great friends!
I love the lab staff at the oncologist’s office.
My first lab draw ever, I gave a two minute soliloquy on how I have such bad veins - they might have to use the back of my hand, yada yada yada. Um hmm. One stick and they had 12 tubes of blood. Done.
They joke. They hand out tissues, and meet you wherever you are on your path. One particularly hard day - I wanted to take bets on my lab results based on my trend, symptoms, etc. 25 point spread, the reward: home baked goods for the tech, their choice. The spirited tech took me up on it to help keep MY spirits up. She knew on my journey, in that moment, I needed the hunt for that number to be fun. She lost, but I love her. Hence, I took her a dozen blueberry muffins the next time anyway.
I love the guy who brings my groceries to the car at grocery pick up.
He is the bomb. I almost always get the same guy. He has gone in to replace a loaf a bread he notices is smashed. He noticed once that I ordered the wrong milk and called me. I have been using pickup since pre-pandemic. Once or twice I may have given him a gift card for Dunkin’ coffee. Pro tip: a $5 gift card will buy two specialty coffees and a lot of joy if the recipient chooses medium and days/times wisely.
I love the guy at McDonald’s who notices our disabled vet tags.
He sees the tags and just gives us a discount. We make sure to tell him thank you! He likes the cinnamon sugar cookie latte. Some how we knew a week before him it was coming back, so we let him know, (always $2 for a small!). We also let him know when the K-cups come back to Walmart.
Did you all know it is illegal to write on the neighborhood sidewalks in chalk? I'm loving on my neighbors...graffiti style! If I end up in lock-up, you’ll know why.
In Mark 12:31, the second greatest commandment is summed up by Jesus as:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The word love Jesus uses is not referring to romantic love, like we have with our partners. He uses agapēseis. The root here is agapaó. This use of love conveys a sense of welcome and fondness. Jesus is asking us to convey to our neighbors that we like them. We enjoy them.
Because the Greek language is so precise, (doesn’t language ROCK?), the word used for neighbor – plēsion, gives us further insight.
Plēsion includes “any other person" and "where two are concerned”. If you meet him, he is yours. (*Do not lick, sneeze, cough, or otherwise spread respiratory droplets on him).
What can we do in these topsy turvy times?
We can follow Jesus.
We can do as he instructed.
If your neighbor concerns you, he is yours. If you like him, show it. A smile, a joke, a simple thank you. Lend him your dog, even if you need to supervise. Sincerely express, 'I have enjoyed this interaction with you'... even in its brevity, even in its form of text, email, Zoom or checkout through respiratory-droplet-proof plastic.
Love your neighbor, guys = Agapēseis ton plēsion sou.