Nostalgia moment: I remember when I was in high school and I hit a deer while I was driving to town. My car was totalled and I was stuck. This was before the days of cell phones and no one lived anywhere near where I hit the deer.
A man in an old logging crummy came by and saw that I was in trouble. He gave me a ride down to the store where my dad was working. Even though I had never met the person that picked me up, I had absolutely no fear of him. Nothing happened in our town to give me reason to fear. In the world that I grew up in and knew, everyone was safe. Not all people were friendly. Not everyone had the same family values. But everyone was safe.
Fast forward to today and it seems like everyone suspects everyone. We read on Facebook where someone will see a car driving slowly through their neighborhood and will send out an alert only to find out that they were lost and needed directions. People who are broken down on the highway sometimes sit for hours waiting for help because no one has the time or feels safe enough to help. I actually read an account of a mom who went off the road into a snowbank and sat on the side of the road for a couple of hours with her children in the car and not one person stopped to see if she was okay. Right here in my town!
It is so hard to maneuver this world right now. The bad guy doesn’t look like a bad guy. Thieves are bolder than ever. Instead of kindness, people seem to thrive on bullying. New neighbors bring suspicion. It is hard to know what is right and who we can trust.
I get it.
But I honestly think that the only way to stop the cycle of suspicion and animosity is to put our devices down and get to know one another. Face to face. Once we know the faces of our friends and neighbors, it will be easier to know who we can trust. It will be easier to identify the scoundrel.
Another nostalgia moment: I remember sneaking up to my neighbors house, ringing her doorbell and running off quick to leave her a surprise bouquet on May Day. It was fun. It was innocent. It was kind. I also remember taking a homemade treat to a friend who is having a hard time or dinner to a family who just had a baby. We used to love each other well. And we KNEW each other well.
We MUST stop looking at screens and start looking into the eyes of those around us. And then we need to start taking the time to get to know them. To be helpful. To be kind.
How do we go about this? I have a few ideas mostly from things I remember from my childhood.
- When a new neighbor moves in, go meet them. Take them a pretty plant to welcome them to the neighborhood.
- Are there kids near you that are your kids ages but you aren’t sure if they are kind? Invite them over to play games. Pop up a big bowl of popcorn to share. Do this often as you get to know them.
- Do you know someone who seems lonely? Maybe an elderly person who doesn’t seem to have anyone around? Go visit them!
- Buy a packet of wildflower seeds and scatter them in an unused area of your yard. Water and fertilize them well and then pick them in the fall and give bouquets to the grocery store check out clerks.
- See someone outside shoveling their driveway? Stop and offer to help.
- Thank your postal workers by bringing them some homemade bread and jam as a thank you.
What we don’t know tends to make us suspicious. So let’s connect and bring the unity back into our communities!
Don’t you agree?