Who is my neighbor?
I have been thinking about neighbors a lot lately. Largely because my physical neighbors are the only people I see with any kind of regulatory these days. I see them walking their dogs, riding bikes, playing outside, doing yard work, and even picnicking. I wave, and sometimes we talk, but largely it’s just an awareness of their presence in a way that I’m not usually attuned to. But I’m also keenly aware of my “neighbors” across the world. In scripture, Jesus talks a lot about neighbors. Usually as a way to remind us to care for those we often overlook or marginalize. And that’s still a great and wonderful reminder. But during this pandemic I am reminded not only that everyone, in some sense, is a neighbor, but that my life is inextricably linked to theirs. I am reminded in ways that I had forgotten, that my well being is directly tied to the well being of the least among us.
As one author write, “Coronavirus has exposed our false idols, has pulled back the fancy facades of the powerful, and forced us to focus on what matters most to us. Physical and spiritual wellness. And we are reminded that our neighbors lives have a direct impact on our lives.”
My hope is that when this pandemic is less of a threat, I will not forget the lessons learned during it. The importance of slowing down. The connection with neighbors. The power of gathering together with my faith community and sharing the Eucharist. Until then I carry on, continuing learning how to love my neighbors as myself.