When Mr. Rogers entered his tv home
he would sing “Won’t You Be My Neighbour.

Neighbour.
Who is my / our neighbour?
… “Are you my neighbour?”
… “Am I your neighbour?”
… “Are people who live far away my neighbour?”

What about people
… who have a different skin colour
… commit murder
… speak a different language
… who are addicted
… are differently-abled
… have a mental illness
… hold to a different political view
… have vision problems
… are in prison
… have a form of dementia
… live on the street
… interpret religious teachings from a different perspective
… have differently-shaped eyes
… lie
… aren’t in the same ‘class’
… betray confidences
… spell ‘neighbour’ as ‘neighbor’ <g
and the list goes on

As the questions boiled down to one:
“Who is my neighbour”
this acrostic emerged from my meditation:


N
… not so-close
(because of separation by physical, emotional, geographical distance)
are my neighbours.

E … elderly
(of all ages, religions, nationalities)
are my neighbours.

I … inconspicuous
(in the decision-making society because of disability, poverty, “ism,” addiction,
homelessness, mental illness, terminally-ill, etc.)
are my neighbours.

G … generally-encountered
(at the library, stores, post office, traffic, bank, garage, hairdresser, trades, schools)
are my neighbours.

H … hobby friends who share my interests
(in crafts, sports, recreation, volunteerism)
are my neighbours.

B … born recently; born in the future <aka future generations>
(of all races, religions, nationalities, countries)
are my neighbours.

O … occupational
(people I work with; people I study with)
are my neighbours.

U … unaware of
(the Creator, the Holy, Divine, God, By-Whatever-Name)
are my neighbours.

R … related to me
(by blood, marriage, law)
are my neighbours.

S … society’s alienated
(because of race, sexuality, religion, gender, ability, addiction, illness)
are my neighbours.

If all people are my neighbours,
issues of
… injustice
… discrimination
… care of the environment
… abuse
… “ism”
will surface.

If animals are my neighbours
issues that affect their
… health
… survival
will surface.

Native spirituality
may not refer to trees and plants, water, environment and land
… as ‘neighbours”
yet its call to care for these has inspired
… and continues to inspire
generations of people.

That one word
… neighbour
can be a wonderful starting-point for
… conversation
… prayer
… action
about
… “who is my neighbour”
… “how am I to treat my neighbour”
… “how do I want my neighbour to treat me”
… “why do I not treat all neighbours in a similar way”
… “am I my brother/sister’s/*neighbour* keeper”

Neighbour
“Won’t you be my neighbour?”

 

WatermarkedNeighbourSave

Photo (Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
& Text © June Maffin
www.soulistry.com
www.soulistry.com/blog
www.facebook.com/groups/soulistry

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