On Loving My Neighbors

The air is chill now, so as this new season presses in, we take to more “field trips” to keep life interesting since we’re not as inclined to play outside for hours. Today we decided to eat some lunch at McDonald’s before hunting for books at the library.

I ordered our food, trying to be polite and attentive to the lady behind the counter, while also attempting to keep an eye on my rascally children. Mama’s need eyes like chameleon’s. I think it would be most helpful, to be able to see two places at once. Although, I suppose that would be a little freaky. But, hey, freaky could come in pretty handy sometimes, too.

I couldn’t help but notice the colorful crowd that a small town McDonald’s on a Friday afternoon can draw. There was this one couple chatting rather loudly with another fellow, sitting by himself, a few tables away. She was yelling something about how the government is about to start taking everything away. They must  have come for the company, ’cause not long after we sat down, here she came, right up to my table to tell me all about how this cashier once mistook her for a twenty-five year old young woman. We laughed. But, I tried not to laugh too loud, especially when she began explaining that she never wants to look older than she is–she wants to dress fashionably. She, with her sweatpants and “Dopey” from the seven dwarfs t-shirt. We visited a bit more ’cause she had a lot to say,  and I mostly smiled and nodded quiet, because I just wanted her to know that I see. Sometimes I think we’re all in a world of too much hurry that we forget to just look up in someone else’s face and really see.

Just a table away, there were these two men, one old like a grandpa and the other perhaps in his thirties. The younger one was chatting and swaying and he sang this little diddly like a meadow-lark in the happiest way.  Then he’d tell the old man to “Shhhhhh” and then he’d repeat those same few lines over and over again. The old man sat patient and kind and when he turned our direction, I waved.  We smiled and he winked and he had these eyes like Jesus and I couldn’t help but notice that this world is full of beautiful, colorful folks that God made. 

And my friend tells me that there are no Mormons and Muslims, no Wiccans and Atheists, but that they are all just my neighbors and I see it now, sitting in McDonald’s in my little hometown. That when Jesus says to love my neighbors as much as I love myself, He was talking about all the people in proximity to me. And I don’t claim to have a love like that, but I wonder if this is a little bit of what that means. That I’m not so bent on myself that I forget to look up and see. The old man with the singing, swaying son. That lady with an awful lot to say. Maybe my neighbors don’t need my lofty political opinions or to even hear me preach.  But, maybe they could feel the love of Jesus when I just take time to look full in their face and see.

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