I've been actively engaged in the Resolutionary Challenge for about three weeks now, part of my list of things I want to accomplish this year. I am REALLY liking it, and notice that physically, I feel better. Each week of the challenge (12 weeks) we are given a wild card challenge to complete, in addition to the other nine points we are trying incorporate into our daily routines. This week, we have been asked to read some documents that summarize and outline a program called "Know Your Neighbor," which was compiled/written by Whitney Johnson, of the Dare to Dream site, whose button I keep prominently on my sidebar. The more I read, the more I embrace the need to open my home to my neighbors... not that we've put up gates and barred our windows, but we could definitely be doing a better job at developing and maintaining relationships with those who live in closest proximity to us. I'm excited about this challenge.
In the age of cell phones, e-mail and text messages - literally unlimited, constant communication - we seem to have lost our ability to make friends. We have neatly fenced yards and locks on all our doors but who are we keeping out?
It is quite possible in suburban America to never see or speak to our nearest neighbors - a situation that in an earlier age would have meant that we would have no help bringing in the crops or threshing the wheat or raising our new barn. While most of us no longer need our neighbors' help to sustain the basic necessities of life, when we don't know our neighbor we miss out on life-enriching relationships, and we contribute to the trend of "global cooling" - the world is indeed a cold place with no friends in it.
-Whitney L. Johnson
Did you know that the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality? Part of Whitney's Know Your Neighbor Implementation Guide explores The Social History of the Pineapple, which has come to express the sense of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family affection. I adore pineapples. When I was in Colombia as a missionary, there were frequently pineapple vendors on corners, selling ripe, juicy pineapple by the slice. I would sometimes eat enough pineapple slices that I was left with sores in my mouth. I love the look of a pineapple, and often pick one up with my weekly produce, hoping to be able to keep it on the counter as long as possible, just because I love how it decorates an otherwise hum-drum looking bowl of fruit. Next trip to the store, I'm going to pick up a few extra pineapples. Then I'm going to share them. And hopefully my neighbors will not only like the look of a tropical fruit on their counters, but also welcome an opportunity to know their neighbors just a tiny bit better.