Virtual Voices

Know your neighbor

Family

We've been in our new house in Oklahoma City three months now. A few weeks ago we decided it would be fun to host a neighborhood block party. But it's been 100-plus degrees ever since we moved in, and that kind of heat does not lend itself to having a successful outdoor party.

But with fall just around the corner with school starting and schedules quickly filling up, we were afraid we would lose our window of opportunity, so we decided to go ahead and give it a try. My husband designed a killer flyer that we distributed throughout the neighborhood. We then held our breath. Would people respond?

We had good reason to be apprehensive; we'd tried similar events in other places we'd lived with mixed results. But this time turned out to be different. Several families on our cul-de-sac indicated ahead of time they wanted to come. In addition, the weather "cooled off" to the low 90s, so it was actually tolerable to be outside for a couple hours.

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All told we had about 30 people hanging out in the middle of our street that evening. Adults chatted and kids had Hula-Hoop and chalk-drawing contests. We met neighbors we had not yet met and were surprised to discover that some of the neighbors who had been living on our street for several years were also introducing themselves to each other for the first time. In fact, several commented how they had wanted to do something like this before but never did.

In the end, it was a great evening. I have no grand illusions that we became BFFs with our neighbors, but I do think we cracked open some doors for future cookouts or dinners or get-togethers in the future.

It's hard enough to follow Jesus' command to love your neighbor as yourself-harder still when you don't know your neighbor's name. We've got names now; let the lovin' begin.

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