“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How well do you know your neighbors; your neighborhood? If you live in a petite town, you probably know them on a personal level. Hopefully they are ‘good neighbors,’ ones who make you smile, and if they are lucky, your presence makes them smile as well! Once when visiting a friend in a larger city (in Mississippi) I asked about the next-door neighbors. He shrugged and said he didn’t know them. In disbelief I made some general exclamation but kept my stonger reaction in check. Just because a neighbor doesn’t extend the first token gesture — doesn’t mean that you cannot!
Challenging neighbors have sometimes dotted my past, but I eventually realized they had extreme personal burdens or wounds, which had nothing to do with me. By being neutral, many times I witnessed the softer side emerge. We as humans often don’t take time to consider how uncomfortable the other person’s shoes might be.
There are many people still in recovery mode on Ecuador’s earthquake-ravaged coastline. I’ve had time to walk slowly through neighborhoods and talk with friends, talk with strangers, and to marvel (and laugh) at children’s natural gift of inner joy. I realized that in good times we often don’t stop to exchange greetings with strangers, and in bad times, we’re so busy trying to survive, that we also forget that others are doing the same. In good times or in bad, we sometimes forget to take time to listen – truly listen… Continue reading