Yesterday at church we chatted with a couple that have lived in Los Angeles all of their lives. As someone who had lived here all of his life he mentioned that he was surprised that Angelenos appear to be insular; and he couldn't figure out why that appeared to be so. He came to this conclusion after his house was broken in to while he was on vacation. This incident forced him and his wife to come out of their comfort zone and chat with their neighbors but it seems like the neighbors were quite comfortable in their boxes. No one saw anything suspicious activity around their house while they were gone. It almost seems as if most of the neighbors were truly minding their own business. Since the break in they've made an effort to connect with their neighbors.
We debated the merits of why the locals seem to stick to themselves, but came up with no good answers.
Later that day, I decided to talk to a neighbor. It's LA, so there's always something being filmed. The whole neighborhood received notices that the reality show "I Hate My Yard" was being filmed on our block. So we all knew which house it was (not because the yard was ugly, but because the notice stated the address). Being curious, I started to talk to this particular neighbor and she invited me over to see what the show had done so far. As we were leaving her yard, she saw my Little One on her scooter and recognized her from school. It turns out they both knew each other.
- Someone has got to be brave and say hello first.
- People are usually really welcoming if you are friendly.
- You might not get a connection the first time but you have to be persistent, especially if it's who you are.
- It's worth it in the long run.
- People may have built walls around themselves and perhaps have forgotten the reasons why.
- It's easy to stay to yourself, harder to reach out, but more rewarding.
- We won't know what each person is going through until we start talking to them.
- At their core most people want to connect.
- Life is more fun with friendly neighbors.
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. James 2:8 (NIV)
Do you know your neighbors? Do you make an effort to connect with them? Why would an entire town, village, etc be known as being insular?