I have been so lucky in my life for my friendships with women. I am truly grateful everyday for the gestures of friendship I receive, big and small, from phone calls, to birthday gifts to shared jokes. I am truly blessed to be loved by such beautiful women as my dear, dear girlfriends (sisters, mom, aunts and nieces included here !!!).
Next door to me lives a beautiful woman, Catherine, who I would have to say I share a neighbourly acquaintance with, more than a close friendship. We don't really see each other socially more often than the occasional chat over the bushes, though we have been promising for three years to get together for drinks and really talk and get to know each other! We have exchanged Christmas cards, Christmas cookies, Valentine treats, all in gratitude for how much we appreciate each other as neighbors. She and her husband Stephen are like David and I. They enjoy a quiet couple life, like to keep their property tidy and pretty and in a neighbourhood where that isn't the case for all the neighbors, the expression of gratitude for that should be celebrated !
Recently, Catherine has been pretty ill, fighting cancer. But man, is she strong ! And beautiful in her fragile physical state. It makes me so sad to know what she and Stephen and her family are going through right now but oh, so very grateful for each precious moment we have on this earth!
So Catherine and I have upped the ante with the "kindness" exchanges these days. We have our own "pay it forward and then it comes back" crusade going on ! I think it makes us both feel good to connect to our neighbor, to truly acknowledge their existance and appreciate their neighborly qualities. What we do is exchange tokens of neighborly love about weekly. One day she will receive a necklace with a hand-painted "hope" charm on it from me. The next day, a gorgeous vase with hydrangeas cut from her garden will appear in my entry porch. A trip to the farmer's market for me means a couple of perfect tomatoes on her doorstep. And guess what ? One day, I actually knocked on her door when she was there and we did go out on her deck and share that drink and get to know each other better !
So my challenge to my Crusader friends is to think about your neighbor. Have you told them lately that you appreciate them ? Do they know you care about them, even if it is just in an over-the-fence way ? What little gesture could you do that would pay the neighborly kindess forward ? Believe me, your heart will feel so very full when you go for it and it sure makes the neighborhood all that much sweeter.