Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Small Things with Great Love (Day 7)

I moved into my apartment complex in April in the midst of deep depression and that gave me even greater impetus to get to know my neighbors. In many ways being in relationship with those closest to me has been a lifeline.

However we really did not start getting to know our neighbors well until June. As an introvert, walking up to everyone's door and introducing myself sounded terrifying. So instead I baked chocolate chip cookies.

I tied them up in bags with ribbon and attached a note to let our neighbors know who they were from and wish them a happy Saturday. Then we hung them on each door in our complex. Everyone who responded was very thankful for the gesture. A few weeks later when we invited everyone to a Fourth of July community cookout, we attached the invitation to rice kripspies treast with red, white, and blue sprinkles.

What did I learn from this? I was reminded that food is a great unifier and that it doesn't need to be elaborate. Through something a simple as a treat at someone's door we formed a relationship with one of our neighbors we would not have met otherwise. When we invited people to the community cookout we already had a rapport with them.

Why did this work? We contextualized our neighborhood. We know most of the people in our complex are single and/or live alone. Many of them do not cook or eat homemade food often. Most are either lower middle class to middle class.

I don't think this gesture would work in every neighborhood. Just like wine and cheese nights or cooking classes won't work in every neighborhood. But what I do know is that there are some simple ways you can love and serve your neighbors that will bless them and you.

Have you contextualized your neighborhood? What small things can you do to show your neighbors you care?

This post is part of the 31 Days of Neighboring series.

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