Love thy neighbor as thyself

January 23, 2022

When I was a little girl, my mother would tuck me into bed every night, lean down and kiss my cheek, then whisper, “Sweet dreams and chocolate creams. See you in the morning.”

If I looked sad, she would ask what’s wrong. My answer: I don’t have anything to look forward to. But then she would answer with a smile and come up with something positive.

Now it’s January 2022. The winds are howling, the virus is raging, food and gas prices are soaring, racial injustices are still rampant. Politics is driving a wedge between neighbors.

Recalling a childhood game: Red Rover, Red Rover, send Lisa right over. I’d dash across the grassy field and join hands with a smiling face on the other team. Then it was my turn to call out another name. Switching sides was a game. Not a serious one like our political arena.

It’s never going to be two political parties deciding to work together to learn how to live in harmony. My father threw in the towel when Nixon resigned. My uncle switched parties after Clinton left office. Live footage of the siege on our nation’s Capitol is disputed. What?

Let’s decide that there is something to look forward to in our own community. Maybe you can make a meal for one neighbor who needs a little cheer.

When my mother died, a neighbor brought me dinner. Hot soup, salad and crusty bread. It felt so nurturing. I felt loved by that simple gesture. I was inspired to do the same for someone else who was hurting.

In my neighborhood, there are scores of people who have made a meal for someone in need. Seniors are prone to falling, bones break more easily, and cancer has taken its toll on everyone.

When someone brings dinner to someone else’s home, it’s an act of kindness that will not be forgotten.

What is there to look forward to? Find one of your favorite recipes and prepare dinner for someone nearby. Knowing that someone took the time to cook for you makes you feel loved.

What’s there to look forward to? Super Bowl. Valentine’s Day. Spring flowers. The COVID numbers are going down, folks.

For 10 years, I have avoided politics in this column. I don’t want to judge someone for their right to vote for their candidate, and I don’t want anyone to challenge my vote. But last night I went to dinner in a local restaurant, and here’s what happened.

My husband and I sat at the bar and ordered dinner. When our food arrived, a young man took the seat next to my husband. He was polite and asked, “Do you mind if I sit here?”

“Sure, but I hope you are vaccinated.”

“I’m wearing a mask,” he laughed. “What are you, one of those Biden people?”

“I’m here to eat dinner. That’s all.”

The hostess must have overheard, and she offered to move the customer to another seat at the opposite end of the bar.

We finished our dinner and went home. I wanted to just let it go. It was only the next morning when I realized I was angry at him. Riled that he considered my vaccination status synonymous with my political views. Views he knows nothing about.

But if this were my neighbor, and his mother died or got cancer, I would mask up and deliver him a home-cooked meal and try to help him feel better.


Write to Find me on Facebook: Our Senior Yearbook, #lisajgraff1


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