This is a typical suburb — unless you live in Dallas, then your grass is more of a yellow/brown color and the houses are MUCH closer together. But I digress. We let our kids go out and play, but we keep a close watch on them by going outside with them… because there could be predators out there, other kids could bully ours, those people next door just keep their heads down all the time so who knows what they are really like, that single guy over there is just bizarre so we stay away from him, and on and on the list goes.
But what if you got to know your neighbors? I know, who has time for that, right? I admit it – I STINK at this… I really do. Especially when it’s 172 degrees outside in the summertime. And I NEVER exaggerate. Ok seriously, what if you got to know your neighbors. What if you found out the truth about the family life of that bully up the street, and you realize she’s pretty much pissed at the world because her mom died from cancer two years ago? What if you found out that bizarre single guy just lost his kids in an awful custody case and he lost his self-confidence along with his kids? What if … what if you found out these people weren’t just people going through life — but they are actually heroes in training? They are heroes in their daily lives and in what they are facing.
Today marks 12 years since angry people chose to take the lives of thousands in New York City. And we celebrate the heroes who rushed toward the chaos instead of running away – and rightfully so. I have very close relational ties to all kinds of heroes who rush toward the chaos DAILY. I don’t have enough glowing adjectives to accurately describe these people… and I’m not one of those people, that’s for sure. Their daily heroic work might look like coming to your house at 2am because you smell gas. Or maybe you came home and your back door was wide open, I bet some heroes showed up and looked through every closet and behind every shower curtain to ensure you could safely enter your home. I have called some heroes before because my smoke detectors went CRAZY — one of the heroes came straight from the pool with his family to help me because it was completely outside of my scope of knowledge.
But all that stuff? It’s training. It keeps them on their toes so that when you are t-boned in an intersection, they know how to calmly help you. When your son’s school is on lock-down because a kid showed up with a weapon, they all know exactly what to do. They show up when chaos erupts.
And when a plane flies into a building … man, I doubt there is training to prepare them for that, but they run toward it anyway.
All of them.
No matter if their hero capes are RED or BLUE.
Guess what? Your neighbors are all in training too. And so are you. Your daily heroic actions might look like inviting the bully and her dad to come have ice cream with you outside. It might look like leaving a fun little baked good in the bizarre single guy’s mailbox with a note that says, “thought you could use a smile today — from, your neighbor.” It might look like helping that mom across the street carry her groceries inside. It might look like mowing your neighbor’s yard when you know her husband is on active duty overseas.
Scripture tells us to treat others the way we want to be treated here, in Romans 13:9
…and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b]
So what are you doing? Are you going to be the hero among us?
Get to know your neighbors now and go through the training, so that if chaos ever erupts on your street you can confidently run toward it. Like a hero. #nocapesnecessary