Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Street life in Kirkwall, Orkney, by Giorgio de Chirico (detail)
Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity, for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.
— Proverbs 27:10
This proverb is about neighbourhood community, something we've been sorely missing these past times. We tend to think that family members are the important ones to turn to in times of need or distress. Here we are advised to rethink that. Turn to those nearby, neighbours, friends, not family members who are far away.
These days, my family and I live in a neighbourhood where we get to meet our neighbours. Each block of four houses has a shared entrance way leading to the back gardens, we see our neighbours in the local shops, cafes and pubs, in the parks walking their dogs, at the schools gates and local playgrounds, and slowly over time we grow close to some of them. Sometimes we ask for help, to borrow a tool or have them feed the cats when we're away. This wasn't always so. Before moving back to the UK from the USA we barely knew our neighbours. Big houses, few (if any) local shops. Friends and family members of ours live even more isolated, in up-market, purpose-built estates, no town centre, no community of any kind. No pedestrians.
Interestingly, we believed that moving back to England would mean lots of time with my family, sisters helping out with the children, and family parties. It never played out that way, not because of any animosity (far from it) but because we all have busy lives and were not quite close enough to be neighbours. We discovered for ourselves, that in the flow of life better is a neighbour that is near than a [family member] far off.