Your Neighbor’s Battle

It is easy to get caught in the rhythm of life and forget to remember that there is a much bigger world outside of your own. As a twenty something, this is particularly easy. Sometimes I find that I am so focused on my own success, career wise and relationally,that I forget to stop and be helpful to the people around me. This dawned on me recently after a few encounters with my neighbors. Two encounters that literally stopped me in my tracks and changed my perspective.

My neighbor to my left is a young adult probably in his late twenties. He drives an old Suburban. Recently, there has been a foreign vehicle parked in his driveway. A small, silver car that belongs to his father. His father, who has stage four cancer, and is now staying with his son in his last dying days. His father came out and introduced himself to my dad and I on a rainy day when the whole neighborhood had lost power. I was so consumed with not having electricity that I wasn’t very friendly or patient when he introduced himself. And then he shared his story with us and I was stopped dead in my selfish, minded tracks.

ImageTo my right is an older woman who lives by herself. She rarely comes out of the house and doesn’t drive. She has visitors from time to time, who I am assuming are her family checking in on her. I assumed she did not drive because of her age. I had never directly met her or seen her close up, but the other day when I was pulling in my driveway from work, I saw her come outside to get her mail. She had a walking stick and black shades covering her eyes. I now know that my neighbor is legally blind, lives alone and takes a bus every morning to get to wherever she needs to be. Again, stopped in my tracks.

These are my neighbors. Why do I know so little about them? Why have I never stopped to take the time to get to know them or even say hello? Sometimes our worlds are so centered on me, me, me.  How can I get that job? Or that house? Or that boyfriend/girlfriend? Me, me, me. I am guilty of sometimes having this mentality, but it wasn’t until recently that I stopped and took my focus off myself and looked to the people next to me.

Twenty Something Advice (for Anyone):

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato

I now know that life is less about me and more about how I can connect, serve, and love other people. My neighbors reminded me of this. I hope today that you stop and really think how can you be of service to someone else. This world is a lot less about you and me but more about us and what we can do for one another. After all, you never know what your neighbor might be battling.

-Stephkt

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