Help Thy Neighbor

htnThink about the last time you helped someone you didn’t know?  Was it today?  Yesterday?  Last month?  It seems we have gotten so caught up in our own lives that we have forgotten about those around us.  Now I am not referring to family and friends as we help them on a regular basis, or we should, I am talking about those people we just see in passing such as a neighbor.

There was a foreclosed house next to me that had sat vacant for years.  Several months back, the house finally sold.  Now this place needs lot of work, I mean heavy work, roof, A/C, interior of the house was a mess and needed to be gutted, yard is totally overgrown, back yard, well let’s just say you could walk across the pool water it is so nasty.  Anyway, the new owner had his brother move in, I guess with the intent that he would fix up the house.  Sad thing is, the brother, who is a very nice guy, has had a stroke and is unable to hold a job.  He is also unable to perform all the work that needs to be done, especially since he does not have the funds to do so.  It appears the owner has pretty much abandoned his brother in this house.

In the past, I have offered to help him with things around his house; he is full of pride and said he could never have me help him.  I assume it is because I am a woman, but whatever the reason, he would not accept my help.  However, I have many times mowed the small easement that is behind his fence, I figure I am outside mowing anyway, I know he doesn’t have a mower and with all the other things that he is going on with that house I figure the last thing he needs to worry about is getting that easement mowed which is behind the back fence, kind of an out-of-site out-of-mind part of the property.  Yes, I’ll be honest I don’t just do it to help him, but to help the neighborhood as a whole.  A home and property are most likely the biggest investment most of us have and to keep it looking good helps all of us, plus in the dry months having that area grow so tall is a fire risk with all dry grass.

Anyway, I bring this up to get you thinking about what you are doing to help your neighbors.  The other day when I was out mowing, it was hot, really hot.  I was so tired and I had just finished mowing my back easement as well as my neighbors.  There was a man behind my house who was mowing the back neighbor’s yard.  I asked him if he would do me a favor and give the sidewalk a quick edging, it would have taken him less than two minutes.  He snapped at me with a loud “NO”. I was shocked at his quick and loud reply….but yet made a bad assumption thinking that since I help my neighbor; perhaps a neighbor would help me.

Now to be fair, this guy wasn’t my neighbor, he was the back neighbor’s lawn man.  I would have offered to pay him but he didn’t even give me the option, and I didn’t think quick enough to offer as I was so shocked at how rude he was.

It made me wonder, how many people help other people anymore just because they want to help?  Why has helping others become so rare?  Is it because so many people have taken advantage of others?  Is it because we have become so self-absorbed that we cannot see the needs of others much less care about extending a helping hand?  Sadly I think the answer is yes to all those questions.  However, that doesn’t make it right.

As we celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ today, go out with your family or maybe just yourself and do something special for someone.  Also, as we enter into a new year turn your focus to others around you rather than your normal focus.  Reach out to your neighbors, stop and talk to them, ask them if they need help with anything.  Do something nice for someone who isn’t expecting it not because you want something in return, but just because you want to help.  You will be surprised how your life will be changed.