who is my neighbor?

I’m pretty big on hospitality. I love welcoming in the outsider, sharing the table, opening our home, and making sure people in general feel loved, valued, and wanted. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at this, but this trip has got me thinking, particularly about how I show hospitality those those I live in close proximity with- my neighbors. 

I’ve been learning a lot about what it means to be a neighbor from the people here. Being the outsider and the newcomer to the community, I have been astonished by the number of people who have showed up at our door, stopped cars mid-street to say hello and introduce themselves, invited us places (to meals, to their homes, to church, to their own restaurants), shared their stories (and asked us ours), helped us get settled (running errands, figuring out currency, carting us around the city), and who have just expressed a genuine gladness for our presence. 

I’m thinking about how, though I do those things in certain arenas of life and with certain groups of people, I do not tend to offer that kind of hospitality and warmth to the people who are my neighbors (meaning the actual folks who live on our block or our alley, not the general, all-inclusive “neighbor.” That one is easier for me). I’d like to change that. 

So far on my list of changes y’all can hold me accountable to: not being so entitled with our water and power supply at home (and here), walking more frequently as a discipline of slowing down and being more present, and now, showing hospitality to my neighbors.  Hopefully someone is writing these down, ha! 

Simply put, we might have come here to adopt, but it feels like we ourselves are being adopted. And this adoption feels more like an invitation- one that should be extended to others, so that they too can feel taken care of, known, and full of the hope that comes from having people with you on the journey. #joinme #everythingsgoingtobealright

6 thoughts on “who is my neighbor?

  1. Debbie & I are praying for you guys & enjoy reading ALL your Embracing Crazy stories!!!!
    Only 12 days till the Trojans open against the bulldogs; are the kids ready?
    God bless you & “fight on”

  2. Good call Jess… I’ve been thinking about this also. I think the thing that makes it more complicated is you are not “choosing” your actual neighbors. Also, we don’t intentionally create enough space in our lives to have time to love people that we haven’t chosen but that have chosen us because of proximity.

    Thanks for this!

    Mark Thrash 949-616-9889

  3. Wow!!! You there and learning and teaching us lessons, to be like Christ, in our everyday lives!! So, so good. Thank you, Jess!

    With Gratitude & Humility, Pam Lafferman


    Please note: message attached

  4. I became aware of the welcome obligation each neighbor feels to the other, in Africa from a minister who came to visit Mariners church about 2 years ago. He said that when he and his family had accepted another position in the US, and were preparing to move after a brief 2 year stay, he had so many neighbors came by, at random times, stopping in to say- “why are you moving?” and “why didn’t you consult us about this move?” “We are your friends and we care about you and this is a huge decision to make alone” He was amazed and very touched, that these natives to the area felt they were as good, and as important as blood family, and they really wanted to be part of such a big decision. One could only wish that our relationships with our own neighbors held friendship in such high regard.
    So glad yesterday held a few new positive milestones for the twins- it sounds like the boy will have a great sense of humor. Can’t wait to meet them, and love them up- and my other 2 g.kids too.
    I hope you will be able to put all these entries into a book and even publish it, for other adoptive families. I think you’d have a bestseller, honey. You are eloquent indeed. Love you- hugs!

  5. One of the many things I love and appreciate about you Jess is your humility and your openness and willingness to try something new, to make a change in your life and to embrace life to the fullest. I appreciate you and how you challenge me to be a better person and to walk closer to God. Love you.

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