As I woke up this morning, I heard a swishing sound outside the window of my childhood bedroom.
Dad was raking leaves outside. I decided to get up and give him a hand. I can’t remember the last time I did yard work and my sore body reminded me.
As I was raking the leaves in our yard, I noticed some leaves in our neighbors too. I was trying to decide if I should cross over the property line and clean their side.
In this moment, I remembered my experience being in Los Angeles 6 weeks ago. I was parking my car in front of my friends house to unload items from my car. Because the houses were so close to each other, my car was literally 2 inches over the property line into the neighbor’s driveway. My car did not block any access. The neighbor came out and began to yell at me and berate me because my car was on his property. I offered to drop everything in my hands to move my car 2 inches over, and he continued to tell me how awful I was.
A week later, when I was away for a few days and legally parked my car on the street with everyone else. I received a warning note on my car from the police because another neighbor didn’t want the same car parked in front of there house for a few days.
These experiences left me with little hope in the kindness of neighbors.
But today, I choose a different path and mindset. I believe the “Me First” or “America First” mindset is what erodes our sense of community. It’s what divides us rather than unites us for the common good.
So this morning, I happily raked my neighbor’s leaves. I wanted to extend kindness and joy beyond the property line, beyond our boundaries, and beyond our border.
It didn’t take much more effort, but deep down, I know that if my neighbor were to take my leaves, I would certainly appreciate it.
What kindness or joy can you share with a neighbor this week?