Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: NEIGHBOR (06/01/17)
TITLE: Being Friendly
By Ken Grant
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The source of my joy and anticipation is the Memorial Day service that is presented by the cemetery located in my neighborhood. The first time each year that I see the sign promoting the event flapping in the breeze, my heart beats just a little faster and my mind goes back to previous events. Each time afterward as I pass the sign, I am counting the days until Memorial Day arrives.
This past Memorial day celebration went off without a hitch; save for one local boy scout who got a little bit lost while carrying one of the state flags before finding his way back to the group. The bi-plane flyover along with a missing-man formation, the twenty-one gun salute accompanied by the playing of taps, the recitation of letters written on fields of battle all over the world, and the inspiring speeches and patriotic songs combined for a truly memorable and moving morning and early afternoon. I departed the grounds with my free hot dog and bottled water and with my spirit full and lifted high.
When I head off for a destination I tend to put blinders on until I reach my intended target and I did so on this day as well. The grounds were close enough to walk from my home and so I set off for home with a steely focus. As I walked I passed a number of people, including two women walking their bicycles. As I passed the woman in the rear, she warned the other to move out of the way and I quickly moved past them without noticing who they were. The women were merely obstacles in my path and once past them I gave them no particular mind.
As I arrived at my front door, I looked up to see those same two women coming down the hall. I realized that one of the women was my neighbor from across the hall, someone I see on a regular basis, but whom I had passed without a thought. I had recently read a book on being a good neighbor which challenged me regarding how much I knew about my neighbors. I realized that an opportunity to interact with my neighbor had presented itself and that I had allowed it to go by without a thought.
Fortunately for me, my neighbor from across the hall gave me a second opportunity. She introduced herself as Michelle and introduced her friend who was also a co-worker. Michelle shared that she had fallen twice on her bicycle on the trip and we all shared a common laugh that broke the mood and created good feelings. Her willingness to share a funny story at her expense was impressive and brave. She was willing to overlook my slight in order to create a better relationship between us as neighbors and improve our community.
I learned a great deal that day. I learned about the courage to sacrifice for others and I learned that small moments make for better community. Michelle, the woman who lives across the hall from me, showed me grace and modeled for me the truth that taking a little time for others can have amazing and long-lasting rewards.
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