Yesterday evening I was sitting watching swim team practice, when my neighborfriend arrived with her family for her son’s swim lessons immediately following practice. He, his brother, and my two littles are the best of buds, playing and riding bikes together, but when they arrived at the pool, it was like they hadn’t seen each other in ages.
As my friend settled herself on the bleachers, I introduced her to the others I’d been visiting with. When I went to introduce her, I told them her name, and then I added, “She’s my…..ummm…..”
“Neighbor,” my friend laughed, shaking her head at my hesitation.
I laughed too. And yet I felt like I needed to clarify–point out that our relationship was more than a geographical one. I mean, after all, she washed, dried, and ironed mine and Princess’ clothes for my Mama’s funeral back when our washer fell apart two and a half years ago.
That’s more than a neighbor, right?
Today I’ve wondered what that was all about. My hesitation. My need to explain how she was “more” than a neighbor.
When did “neighbor” become not enough?
We are called to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” So in that context, I think that neighbor would be a pretty esteemed title to hold.
And my sweet neighborfriend is one who deserves every bit of that esteem.
Tonight I’m pondering what being a neighbor really means–how to do it right. Folks use to greet one another with affection and respect, “Howdy, neighbor!” When did that change? Was it because we are losing the art of front porch sitting…..standing on the sidewalks visiting…..borrowing a cup of sugar or a can of diced tomatoes?
I’m extremely fortunate that my neighbor and I have done all of these things. I love her, her family, and what it means to live close to them. Neighbor is indeed a term of endearment around here.
May you all have a great neighborfriend in your life–someone with an ear, a shoulder, an extra hug or cup of sugar, and who laughs when you try to explain exactly what your relationship is–and may you ever be close, no matter the geography.
Love to all.