“You’re a good man, Mark.”
The person who wrote that to me recently is a former neighbor – someone I haven’t seen for almost 40 years. She is one of six children who lived next door – the Pesaventos. They were constant playmates, partners in the innocent crimes of growing up, and a wonderful crew of people.
On the other side lived the Collins family – quiet neighbors. And just up from them were the Mertzlofts – Lutherans. In fact, Mr. Mertzloft was the pastor of the local Lutheran church and he had a size 13 shoe. He used to come to our house for ecumenical Bible Studies. My big sister still is in touch with them because she babysat for them.
The Beaties lived across the street – five children (and a pony!). The Adamo family was around the corner from them – Mrs. Adamo was the parish secretary.
There is a lot that goes into making us who we are; and this week I was reminded that one of the formative influencers in our lives can be our neighbors. Jesus was asked “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29.) We are familiar with the story of the “Good Samaritan” – the one who no one would expect to do the neighborly thing and whose generosity surprises us. I grew up surrounded by good neighbors. Perhaps “good” is less a personal quality and more a neighborhood attribute. When we are surrounded by “good”, maybe a little of it rubs off on us.
Be a good neighbor today.
A blessed Tuesday.