To Our Readers

Doris, The Woman who lived across the street from us years ago, showed me how to be a good neighbor—by being one.

Doris had six children under twelve years old (that's three times the number I had!). Besides that, she was a full-time graduate teaching assistant. In spite of all that, though, she was the neighbor I always called on for everything from watching my kids while I went to the store, to helping me juggle things when I went back to graduate school myself. One time when I was sick for a few days, she insisted on bringing over all our meals till I was back on my feet again.

The only time Doris would get stern was when I'd mention "reciprocating" for all the favors she did. "Friends don't count favors," she'd say. And that was that. To me, Doris epitomized the kind of neighboring Jesus was speaking of when he said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:39). The kind of neighboring that doesn't diminish when your "neighbor" gets in trouble. The kind of neighboring that's a creative blend of generosity, evenhandedness, patience, and plain love.

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June 26, 2000

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