A Good Neighbor
by Luisa Rodriguez
What is the one thing even the best Realtors cannot do but could potentially lead you to regret your home buying decision? Realtors will take into consideration your needs and wants. They will investigate floor plans, the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, size of the yard, among other things when making recommendations. They may even help you taper your expectations and focus your energy on the most important features while aiming to keep you within budget.
But no matter how amazing and capable they may be, they can’t help you do one thing. Pick your neighbors.
In most cases, you don’t get to know your neighbors until you already moved in. And yet neighbors can make living in a particular community either enjoyable or disagreeable.
God made us to be relational beings and building relationships among your neighbors can help make you feel as part of a community. When that is missing, even the most beautiful home cannot compensate for the lack of connection.
Our first home was everything we wanted and needed at the time, but its lack of community was a dark shadow over an otherwise good scenario.
When we purchased our first home, we had an awesome Realtor. She found us a cute townhome in a quaint town that appeared to be stuck in the 1800s. We were two blocks away from antique shops, boutiques, and restaurants. And we were only one block away from the best homemade pies we have ever tasted. It didn’t help my waistline, but it kept my tastebuds very happy. We were thankful and blessed for our little home, but there was one dark cloud over an otherwise good scenario. Our neighbors.
To be fair, our neighbors were not outright mean, but they were not nice either. People kept to themselves. There were no friendly hellos or waves. For the five years that we were there, almost no one knew our names and we didn’t know anyone else’s either. It wasn’t until our last year when a friendly, older couple moved in that we began to understand community. I spent hours talking to the husband while he whittled away at his wood carving and I sanded and re-stained our deck. They were precious times.
As our little family grew it was time to look for a home with an actual yard and playground nearby. And as I prayed for God to help us find the best home for us, there is one thing I prayed for more than anything. Good neighbors. And bless us He did.
We purchased a new construction so who our neighbors would be was the luck of the draw. Our whole row of townhomes had not been built yet so there was no telling who would end up next door. We hit the jackpot. A naval commander and his lovely wife moved in.
The years spent living next to this military couple were some of the best. There were days we would sit in lawn chairs on our driveways and talk for hours while our toddler played in a plastic pool full of water. When my husband was deployed, this couple surprised me on my birthday with wine, a large rosebush, and good company. We laughed a lot together, and later we would also share tears together. But God would move us again and again I prayed for good neighbors.
He would take us to Pennsylvania next. Our neighbors welcomed us with a plate of cookies and a very friendly offer to help us with anything we needed. While people often say that without meaning it, these neighbors meant it and came through for us time and time again.
With a military husband that was often gone, these neighbors plowed my driveway on snowy days, checked up on our house when we were on vacation, let our children play freely in their yard, watched our children during emergencies, changed a battery on a sump pump, and even saved the day when a mouse found its way into our 50-year-old home. These families became more than just friends and even now that the Lord has moved us again, we miss them dearly.
So now I find myself in Illinois and again I prayed for good neighbors. We left a beautiful community behind and finding one here was heavy on my heart. And even though we are just starting to get to know our neighbors, I think the Lord has blessed us once again.
We have had Realtors who have helped us find some great homes. Our most recent Realtor has been the best one yet. And even though her desire was for us to find a great community, it was something completely out of her control.
But thankfully, nothing is ever out of God’s control. He can answer some of the most miraculous prayers as well as some of the simplest ones.
But we will never know, unless we dare to pray what is in our hearts. So now that I am settled into our new home, I pray that I can be the answer to someone else’s prayer. I pray that I can be a good neighbor.
About the Author
Luisa Rodriguez is a writer and artist who lives in St Charles, IL. Her professional background is in National Security and International Studies. However, recently, Luisa writes mostly about issues that pertain to spiritual growth.
Her daughters are one of her biggest inspirations. Much of her writing centers on female themes and lessons learned from parenting daughters.
However, Luisa’s military studies give her a unique perspective on warfare/military themes in the Bible and she weaves that into her articles. Because of this, she appeals to male readers as well.
Because of her artistic background, she often illustrates her own graphics for her written work and website. You can read and see more of Luisa’s work on her website, Fruitfully Living. Follow her on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.
You can read Luisa’s “Sunday Inspiration” column on the first 1stSunday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.