Mostly our neighbors are good to us.  They’ve watched our house when we’re gone. They’ve mowed our yard. Taken out our garbage.  Fed our dog and cat. Sprayed our weeds (mostly so they don’t invade their yards).  Got our mail.  And that’s all in the last month.

Most of them know our garage code. Our girls have babysat all their kids. Held neighborhood art classes.  They’ve all ate at our house.  We share eggs and milk.  They’re just good people. So….what’s the secret?  Ready? Here it is – we’re nice to them.  They’re nice to us because we’re nice to them. Or is it the other way around? I don’t even know who was nice to who first. Doesn’t matter. We all like each other.

We’ve had two neighbors lose their husbands. So on our little cul-de-sac we have two widows. That gives us the opportunity to be religious in the only way the Bible ever uses the term positively. To serve widows.  But even they help us.  I fixed a litle sprinkler issue the other day for the one up the street, but then they turned around and brought us two bottles of wine, homemade cookies and my favorite coconut covered pecans from Trader Joe’s (which she had brought all the way from California – since we don’t have one here).

There seems to be something funny going on here. Our neighbors seem to be living out the teaching of Jesus “to love us” more than we’re following his teaching “to love our neighbors.”  I’d like to think it’s because we’re such nice people – so Christ-like, but I think it’s just because our neighbors are nice.

“Nice.”  Doesn’t sound like a very powerful concept really, but it is. Just being nice to people opens a lot of doors.  My close friends Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon wrote a whole book about being a good neighbor.  It’s called “The Art of Neighboring” and you can buy it on or wherever you buy books.

It’s good. If you don’t have neighbors like we do – then you should read this book.  You may be tempted to think that your neighbors need to read it, but I’m telling you – you do. Because it doesn’t matter who’s the good neighbor to who first – just someone has to be. Might as well be you. And you’ll get bottles of wine and free coconut covered pecans out of the deal. I promise!