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God sees my 14-year-old neighbor. And today I did too.

Thirty minutes after the “Good Neighbor” series ended, I tried to explain to my husband that the greatest commandment wasn’t for me.

“If I get to know my neighbors, then I just have more people to be shallow with,” I admitted. “I like to go deep in a small pool, not the other way around.”

My husband wasn’t having it.

But being introverted wasn’t just a convenient excuse. To me it felt like an obstacle that I was supposed to hurdle, like a turtle trying to be a jackrabbit. I wondered if God held it against me, wanting me to overcome it out of sheer will and devotion to Him.

Two hours later a neighbor stood on my porch. Fourteen years old and lonely, he was looking for my kids who weren’t home. I wasn’t rude in turning him away, but I wasn’t sad either. When I opened the screen door to tell him that I was the only one home, I looked in his face and heard myself say, “How are you? You OK?” For just a second, his expression broke with emotion.
Of course it did. He has endured all kinds of family trauma. He lives with one guardian, who is very sick, and another who does the tiring work of a single parent. His future at school is as uncertain as his future at home. And the medication he’s on, while a total blessing, can’t touch loneliness or heartache.

But God sees him. And today so did I. “Come in,” I said.

To be honest I’ve dismissed this boy in the past. Repeatedly. Getting too involved wasn’t as easy, tidy, or cerebral as I wanted it to be. I frankly felt like the needs were too much for just me. But actually what’s too much for just me is my abundance.

I stand in awe of how God loves. The Lord walks with this boy who is now going to join us for dinner and “American Ninja Warrior” every Monday night. The Lord cares for his guardian who called me, weeping at God’s tender provision as much as she was at the load she has been carrying. And the Lord sees even me, this doubting, cerebral introvert. To me it’s like Jesus whispered with a wink: “I know you. You want to go deep, not shallow? Well, then, here you are. Now, go love your neighbor.”
Six hours after the “Good Neighbor” series ended, my daughter smiled. “You were never going to knock on your neighbors’ doors and find out their names. So He brought a neighbor to you, like a gift with a big bow.”

A gift to be sure.

Written by a member of Pulpit Rock (who wished to remain anonymous)

 

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