“Times like this, though tragic and devastating, bond us together as neighbors.” Jerry Reed
As I turned the final corner of our street for the conclusion of my daily neighborhood walk, I noticed her rounding the curve of the cul-de-sac where our home is located. Although I did not know her name, we had greeted each other often in passing, she on her bicycle and me walking. I figured she lived somewhere in the neighborhood.
As her bicycle approached the passing point, I noticed her slowing down, obviously to talk. I took my earphones out and stopped to hear her message. Pointing to my home, she asked if I lived there. I said “yes.” She then mentioned that she was curious about the pink flowers in our center garden bed. “Do you know what they are called?” I responded, “I sure do. They are one of my favorites. Pink Drift Roses.” She mentioned that she really enjoyed the wonderful aroma and bright color when she passed them each morning on her bicycle.
I invited her to take a closer look and our conversation eventually led to a showcase of our backyard flower beds and commentary on different species that we both enjoyed. Apparently, we have a common appreciation of flowers. We talked about palm trees, hydrangeas and hibiscus plants. We both have some knowledge in this arena.
At some point, our discussion moved to how the Covid-19 had changed our lives. Her company had been affected and led to her being at home rather than traveling. She talked about how this period of time had been useful in evaluation on different aspects of life. I shared how I felt this time has been effective for me. I had upped my walking exercise with a result of improved blood pressure and a reduction of some of my medicine. She mentioned that she liked walking but had changed to bicycle riding because of an auto accident that had resulted in a herniated disc. Bicycling allowed her to maintain her exercise routine with less stress on her back.
Are you kidding me? Only a few minutes earlier, we were two nameless neighbors that passed each other during our daily exercise routines. Pleasant greetings and nothing else. And here, we were sharing parts of our lives in delightful exchange. We discussed the impact on our health and how the virus had changed our lives. She and her husband live only a little over a block from our home and now we are meeting for the first time.
It is an understatement to say that the pandemic has changed our lives. Some of the alterations are challenging. And some, as I found out today, are positive and enriching. When I now pass my bicycling neighbor on the street, we have a past conversation that is part of our history. We know something important about each other’s life.
This is not even the first time for meeting a new neighbor during this crisis. There have already been others. And, for those neighbors I do know, there has been an increase in our conversations. Sometimes, just a roll down the window in a passing vehicle and a few words like. “How are you doing, Rob,” or “I am impressed with all your exercise,” or “How is your family doing?” On the surface, it may not seem like much. But, to me, this experience of talking more to my neighbors is a huge deal. Different. Positive. Significant. A really good thing.
In previous newsletter editions, I suggested that this new programming of our solitude could be a positive element in our life. An opportunity. A chance to rethink our futures. Personally, I am doing just that. Thinking about the future that my wife and I want to live, thinking about what is important and what I really want to do.
It is a great time to explore some of the core questions we face. This may be the only time we ever have to respond to the inner contemplation that tugs at our hearts. This may be one of the biggest moments in our lives.
If we can only see the possibilities and act.
What do I really want to do?
What should I be doing?
What deep down in my soul matters to me?
Does the way I currently live my life reflect accurately what I believe in my heart is most important?
How do I want to change my life in the future?
Whom do I want to be?
Today, I . . .