Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Loving our Neighbors as Ourselves

Northern Virginia has been clobbered by a series of severe snowstorms this winter, with another biggie fixin' to hit later today and tomorrow. Last weekend's storm, nonaffectionally dubbed Snowmaggedon, has significantly paralyzed the region. In the neighborhood I live in, plows did not arrive until yesterday afternoon, making travel virtually impossible for anyone without a stout 4WD vehicle. Thankfully, we haven't suffered the way others have. We haven't lost power, nobody's roof has collapsed (yet). But still, it's been a very trying time for everyone.

In the midst of this, I have seen the imago Dei on public display. Neighbors have been helping other neighbors in many ways. Some neighbors of mine helped me shovel out my driveway on Sunday, and let me borrow their 4WD to make an urgent grocery run yesterday before the plows arrived. I have helped several neighbors dig out their cars and driveways and have made offers to go grocery shopping for those who remain socked in.

Through shared struggle and a shared sense of community and purpose, I have been privileged to know my neighbors better and to appreciate them on a whole new level. And while the struggle isn't over yet, and may in fact get worse before it gets better if the latest forecasts are to be believed, I can honestly say that in net, I am glad for the struggle. To know and appreciate my neighbors this way has been an enormous blessing that will outlast this winter. It's been my failing that I haven't gotten to know them better before now. But maybe this harsh winter has been God's way of getting me more in line with Mark 12. And in the end, I don't think I would trade that for a no sweat winter that didn't challenge all of us to sacrifice for each other in such a way that lasting durable relationships get formed.