Who is my neighbor?

Yesterday afternoon we stuffed our children into fleecy little Old Navy costumes and made our way over to a Halloween carnival sponsored by the neighborhood homeowner’s association. We are not ourselves homeowners, but we were invited by my sister and our good friends who are.

It was a great little party set in the front yards of a few neighbors on a hidden little street a block from where our church used to meet at the 24th street school. They had a huge jumper set up, good food and games, and the personal highlight for me: pony rides! Doug claims that I was more excited about this than Mercy (and after watching the video he took of us arriving and of me seeing the ponies, I have to say he is right).

Mercy the purple dragon did a lap around the street riding a cute little pony, she chased the goats and chickens in the little petting zoo, she went into the jumper for about a minute, then found a lawnmower push toy that held her attention for quite some time. Aaron just floundered about in his little frog suit, utterly adorable, taking in all the sights and sounds.

We came to this event last year also, and I had the same experience this time around of feeling just so strange. There we were, in the heart of our community,  surrounded by almost entirely Anglo people, in front of beautiful homes, with people who would be perfectly at home in the place where I grew up. Living in our neighborhood, I am aware that these people exist here: the wealthy professionals and gay couples who have bought some of the exquisite homes here and lovingly restored them. But I rarely notice them (they are not often seen walking on the streets or playing in the park with their kids). While they quietly live here, on hidden and closed off streets, other elements of our community are much more visible and make so much more noise.

At one point, a woman walked up to me at this party and handed me a flier inviting me to a “wine and cheese” event. I just looked at her.

It will take some effort for me to remember that these folks are my neighbors too.


  1. Amen Sister! I am working through seminary part time at bank. My bank is located in the richest area of St Louis. In fact rumor has it it is the sixth richest area in the world.

    Enter me. Poor seminary student with a wife and two kids. Scraping by on less per month than my rent and trusting God for the rest (its the first by the way, so we will see how this months gets paid).

    I daily see people with bank accounts in the six figure range…i am talking checking accounts! Often these people perturb me terribly, but I am realizing that they have their fair share of hurts and pains. Divorce, out of control families, you name it, I have seen and heard some crazy stuff.

    Seeing their pain helps me to love them because it helps me realize that they too need the Savior.

    But I smell what you are cooking!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jared,

    Your comment warmed my heart! When I was in seminary at Fuller, I used to struggle simply walking through the student parking lot. The BMWs, the Lexus and Acuras I would see parked there stood like an offense to our family’s struggle to simply pay rent and buy food. I can only imagine how much more you must feel it in your bank.

    My husband wrote a great song with these words: “I am a pauper. Yes, I am poor. But let there be no lies told, let no lies be told here, my cup runneth over…runneth over…I am an heir.”

    True for my spirit and my flesh.

    God bless you and your family!

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