There’s nothing like friendly neighbors…and nothing like nasty neighbors! We’ve dealt with both over the years. However, as we’ve grown and matured and gained experience in life, we’ve discovered that living purposefully and humbly reaching out to our neighbors and even offering help in humility, can make all the difference in the world! It’s called “building a network.”
You don’t need all the social media platforms to build a network, and when it comes to hands-on relationships, having a social network of physically neighboring persons, is much more efficacious and productive than getting your social “fix” from the internet. Don’t get me wrong: I’m definitely not balking at blogging, video channels (vlogs), sharing information via the Worldwide Web. There’s a place for that, too. I’m talking about the grass-roots, old-fashioned, community-building concept of neighbor helping neighbor.
In all the places we’ve lived, nothing beats the area we live in now: it’s sub-rural. Although we have plenty of space, we can still see our neighbors’ homes, but we’re not right on top of each other. This is the first non-city place we’ve lived, and we have come to know our neighbors quite well – more so than when living in crowded cities! We’ve built relationships – on different levels – with each one of them.
One couple in particular, came to welcome us the first week we were here. They brought a simple hanging basket of flowers to adorn our porch, and a beautiful greeting card. We chatted for quite a bit, and hit it off! They were like angels sent from heaven and took us under their wing to educate us in the ways of the culture we were now living in. (This couple became dear and invaluable friends to us since we’ve been here.) Within two weeks of moving in, all the neighbors offered their help with anything we needed. This first couple even introduced us to a church-run food pantry in a neighboring town, who subsequently loaded us up with two car-loads of meats, breads, produce, etc., as a result of their surplus. These same neighbors, discovering that we had no freezer to put all the meat we were given, took us out that day to purchase one! When we arrived home with the chest freezer in the back of their truck, all the neighbors came out of the woodwork, helped us unload it, hook it up, and made sure we were all set before leaving the property. It felt like an old-fashioned barn raising! I was so overwhelmed with gratefulness to these beautiful neighbors (and at the time, practical strangers).
Other neighbors (some seen in the above video) loaned us the use of their ATV and trailer, others have mowed our lawn for us (and a couple times without us asking). They’ve chopped down and processed our trees, shared their deer meat, shared magazines and recipes, and in turn I’ve either paid them for their services, or bartered my own goods in exchange. They’ve fixed fences, delivered canning jars from their family members, and the list goes on and on!
Networking with your neighbors is a wealth and a health that cannot be measured! If you’re new to a place, don’t be shy, and don’t be a “know-it-all.” Lean upon them for advice. They’ve known the area longer than you have, so be humble, put yourself out there, and see what happens!