Pandemic Neighbors

I’ve lived in NJ now for 24 years.  I love my state and it’s people, but if I’m honest New Jersey is not known for its neighborliness.  I grew up in both Ohio and then the Pittsburgh areas.  Many of my family still live in these areas.  Neighbors know each other.  They do bonfires together.  Neighbors stop when on a walk to talk.  They know your name.  They know the names of your children.  They know your habits and your daily routines.  They know the names of your extended family that visits every now and then!

Back in the days when we did not have EZ Pass, I remember driving out to both Ohio and Illinois to visit our sons in college.  You’d pull up to a turnpike booth in NJ and the employee behind the window wore gloves, no smile, and took your toll without eye contact or voice. 

As we entered PA the people behind the tollbooth made eye contact, had a smile, and did not wear gloves. 

 We’d reach the Ohio line and we’d have all that PA offered plus a “hello with a friendly smile” or “have a nice day” comment added.  

By the time we reached Illinois…the people behind the tollbooths would never think of putting on gloves!  They made eye contact, smiled, said “hello” and something like “and where are you headed today…Oh isn’t that nice…well you folks have a great time in this fine city of ours”.  You get the idea!   And…if I’m truly honest…the people from Illinois got on my nerves!  I’m from NJ now.  I still like eye contact and a smile, but I don’t want to share all that much with a tollbooth attendant!  I’ve got places to be and people to see.  “You can take the girl out of NJ, but you can’t take NJ out of the girl”. LOL

I say all of this to sadly say that after living in the neighborhood I have now lived in for 16 years, I barely know my neighbors.  We commute to NYC and other areas in this neighborhood.  We have pretty houses and pretty lawns, but we are not home that much.  When we do walk a dog, we may or may not nod.  Often we are on a phone call.

Well, this pandemic is changing that!  

I’m finding neighborhoods and townships have sights that we can volunteer on.  We are trying to take care of the lonely and hurting who live close by.  If a person has a need, they too can make the need known (via website).   I know, I know.  Still sounds cold right?  (Via website…but it’s a start)  People from Illinois would shudder!

This idea has inspired me.  Today I put a letter into the mailboxes of each of my neighbors and created our own little unit via my personal email.  I’m praying through this that we actually will get to know our neighbors. I’d like to see this neighborhood come together and encourage each other (from 6 feet apart) and help to meet the needs of those who have needs.  I tell you this not to bring “praise” to myself…so please please please don’t.  I tell you this to encourage you.  What part can you do in this time of our lives? Let’s work together and be creative.

Who knows…when this is all done and over, I just might host a bonfire for my neighbors! 

John 11:3-6

“therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.’ When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Many are dying each and every day and our hearts are stricken by the numbers and the multitude of families that are affected.  May the church rise up and may God also be glorified at “such a time as this

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