To give or not to give?
.from a journal entry dated 7/19/1993
…Nannie brought up her old neighbors and she told us about how her neighbor Burt used to always borrow onions, tea and potatoes. She said that he had borrowed so many onions, tea and potatoes that there were no hopes of him ever paying them back. Not that he intended to. So one day she resolved that she would put an end to this constant borrowing.
That night, she was reading in her Bible Study, and the Bible verse said that if anyone borrows from you, give freely. And if he comes the next day and borrows more, give again. So the next time Burt asked, she again gave.
In later years, when Grandpop was drunk and had fallen down, she would call for Burt.
And he would always come.
He’d say, “Come on Jim, and lie down.” Grandpop would say he didn’t want to lie down. But Burt would pick him up anyway. “Come on Jim and lie down a while. It’ll make you feel better.”
Nannie said those times were worth more to her than any amounts of onions, tea and potatoes.
Do You Give Freely?
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I don’t know why this made me cry…
There were so many times that Burt and his family helped my mother and father and my mother and father helped Burt and his family. In many ways they embodied the true meaning of being neighbors. Their cultural differnces did not matter, their political differences did not matter, when help was needed, they were there.
I think we have moved so far away from that in our society today…and then I see the Catrina’s and the Haiti tsumani and the Japanese earthquake and the tornados….People who have no connection with these places stepping up and giving time and love. Neighbors on a global sense. Maybe that is a new definition of neighbor.
You’re right. When my neighbor comes over (well, twice he’s come over), I wonder what on earth he wants. He’s a super nice man and we end up talking for a while, but I still find myself surprised that he’s over here. Maybe it’s because I’m so far from my neighbors. That sense of close community is something I haven’t felt since I was a kid and we lived in the apartments.