This past weekend we moved.
We only lived in our little spot in the mountains of Pennsylvania for 22 months.
Yet, almost every one of our neighbors stopped by to say good bye and wish us well.
Some even said that they would be praying for us.
We were truly blessed and surprised.
Right after we moved in all those months ago, Ann and her wiggly thirteen-year-old cocker named Niki stopped by with a container of fresh-baked brownies to welcome us. And just before we moved away, they popped over again, with a thoughtful card and sweet words and moist eyes (Ann’s) and a wet nose (Niki’s).
Others, simply stopped to say good bye and offer kind wishes for the future.
We were most surprised by Donna, our new next door neighbor, who hadn’t even moved in to her house yet. She had been supervising some projects at her house and we had chatted a few times and lent a neighborly hand. Yet, the day before our move, she popped over with a disposable container filled with red tissue paper, apples, organic squeeze drinks, and bottles of water….for our road trip.
She mentioned that someone had done that before for her and that she appreciated it and wanted to do the same for us. And yes…it was something we needed and it was such a kind and thoughtful gesture.
These wonderful gestures and my own fresh experience got me to thinking about ways of saying good bye to neighbors…..
If one of your neighbors is in the midst of packing and moving, especially if they don’t appear to have much additional help, here are some things you can do to encourage them, bless them, and lighten their burden:
Bring food…something simple like a fresh fruit salad, garden salad, homemade cookies, and even bottled water. Food preparation and clean up takes big chunks of precious time, so these items in disposable containers are truly a gift.
If you’re running to the store, stop by and ask if you can pick up anything. Our friends called and asked how we were doing on packing tape. I cannot tell you what a gift that was for them to pick up tape for us, especially since it was a 25 minute drive one way to purchase more.
Another friend offered to come by with his truck to pick up our recycling when we were finished packing. One of our neighbors graciously allowed us to leave two cans of garbage with them. It may not seem like a big thing, but in the middle of a million decisions and having to figure out what to do with a zillion things….having someone ask to take care of these things is a huge blessing.
Offer to help…watch kids, walk the dog, mow the lawn, pack, load the truck, clean appliances, bathrooms, vacuum, sweep, etc. A perfectly clean house becomes a disaster zone and many hands truly make light work to make it look good for the closing, or new homeowners or tenants. I worked like crazy washing down bathtubs and showers, toilets, mirrors, sinks, cupboards, countertops, appliances, sweeping/mopping floors, picking up packing materials, and would have said yes to this help.
You may not know your neighbor very well. But, if you chat with them occasionally, or even wave to them regularly as they pass by your house, you know them well enough to offer your services. They may not choose to accept. Don’t be offended if they don’t. But, you can be sure that they will be amazed and blessed that you asked. And that in itself might be just the little bit of encouragement needed to press on in spite of flagging energy.
Moving is considered to be right up there with death and divorce for degree of stress. Our little gestures have tremendous power to reduce that stress. So, the next time a neighbor or someone you know says they’re moving….be extraordinary….be a blessing and offer your help, or provide a gift of food and beverage. You just might be the hands of Christ.
I’d love to hear your “moving” story.
What made your move easier or more difficult?
What gesture, in some way, lightened your load?
I’d be delighted if you’d share the extraordinary goodness here with your friends
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