Day 363: Watching the neighbors

Tonight, several of us gathered at the local police station. We weren’t in trouble. We weren’t posting bail for anyone. We gathered as neighbors to learn about the process of setting up a neighborhood watch program. The policeman in charge of the program was so incredibly helpful and friendly. He told lots of stories and reminded us of the great town that we live in. He also told of other programs the police department has, and even living in this town for 13 years, I didn’t know about any of the things he mentioned.

Though we live in a neighborhood of some 170 houses (and growing), there were only 12 of us there (plus the policeman). I’m not surprised by that…even I was tempted to renege on my plan to go. I was so tired, and could have easily found other things at home that needed to be done. But I thought about my blog and what I’ve been preaching, so I encouraged my daughter-in-love to join me, and off we went.

When we got to the Justice Center, there were only 2 cars there. The lights in the building were all dim. We were about 10 minutes late, so I thought maybe nobody showed up and they went home. We drove in the parking lot where all the police cars were, but there weren’t any “civilian” cars there. So we went back to the cars that were in front of the building. A couple of women were standing around, so I asked them if they were there for the neighborhood watch meeting. They said no, but there was an intercom inside, they said, where we could ask a dispatcher about it. So we went inside. The dispatcher told us she would open the door for us, and that we should sit down. The buzzer sounded, so I grabbed for the door.

I was confused. I mean, there were chairs there, but no people were in sight. Anywhere. I looked in all the doors, and everything was either locked or dark. So I sat down. After a few minutes, a lady appeared and said, “Follow me.” She was walking so fast, it was hard to keep up. Finally, she said that the group came in the back of the building, and after a few twists and turns, she opened a door for us where our neighbors were.

The meeting was in progress and I don’t know what they did at the beginning, but following the meeting, we went around to each person to introduce ourselves. It was really nice to put faces with names I had seen on our neighborhood Facebook page. A few of them, I had seen walking down the sidewalk, or out in their yards working, but most of them lived at the front of the subdivision so I hadn’t had a reason to officially meet them before.

One of the things the policeman said that stuck out to me fit nicely in #FindingKindreds. He said that as neighbors, we have to decide what to make of our neighborhood. We have to get out and meet people, and have get-togethers, so that we know people and can help each other out. It’s tough to know who to watch for, if we don’t know whether people are neighbors or vandals or whatever. He also said it’s easy to be a target of a crime if our noses are stuck in our phones 24/7. I could go on and on about the evening, but I’ve gone on enough about it.

I was glad for the opportunity to connect tonight, and will be working to be more intentional.

DAY 363 HOMEWORK: How well do you know your neighbors? Maybe you can start out by starting a Facebook page, or gathering a few who live close by for some cookies or something. Even setting up a meal out for anyone who wants to go, and passing out fliers might be a way to connect. Do something intentional!

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