Notice Your Neighbor
By Evie Kalvelage of Independence, MO, USA
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover them with favor as with a shield. —Psalm 5:3, 11–12 NRSV
While weeding my garden, I noticed my elderly neighbor on her deck. I hadn’t spoken to her for a year. I heard she was having many physical problems and made frequent visits to the hospital. I hurried over to the fence to catch her before she went into the house. She was happy to chat and full of concern for my husband’s health issues.
When I asked her how she was doing, she shocked me with news that she was to have a mastectomy— the next day! With a peaceful look on her face and no sign of self-pity, she told me she could have had a lumpectomy, but she was going to have her whole breast removed to avoid chemotherapy. She joked that she would look terrible as a bald person.
She was accepting of whatever happened and declared it to be in the hands of God. Her concern—if anything happened to her—was for her granddaughter, a nurse who loved her dearly and managed every facet of her healthcare. Her calm, gentle, humorous spirit inspired me. I was fully aware of Christ’s touch from my neighbor.
Peace for Peace
Gentle God, may your caring Spirit calm our fears. May we be a blessing to our community as we are blessed by its members. May we share peace, neighbor to neighbor, country to country.
Spiritual Practice: Offering Blessings of Community
Receive and share Blessings of Community. Begin with a prayer of gratitude for the friendships in your life. See and feel connections with family members, spiritual friends, people in your congregation and community, and people and creatures in God’s sacred web of life. What blessings flow to you from these circles? How have you felt the love of the community?
Today, God, I will make a long-overdue visit with my neighbor.