Know Thy Neighbor
There are stories all around us just waiting to be told. Some have been trapped for decades within our neighbors who we have yet to notice are even there. Other stories hang in midair, as if time was placed on pause when our neighbors began to tell them and we didn’t really listen. While other stories become part of us, weaving their words into our souls where we cherish them forever.
I had seen Mr. Weathers for years dutifully, yet lovingly, helping the children of Selwyn Elementary and Alexander Graham Bell Middle School cross Runnymede safely. It was no small feat, as the crosswalk sits around a bend and slightly downhill. Moms, dads, dogs, strollers, and kids of all ages cross there twice a day. When my kids were little, I walked them to school several times a week and every time Mr. Weathers greeted us like we were the most important people in the world. And when the next group of walkers came across his crosswalk, they too were the most important. When I finally stopped and listened to Mr. Weathers and his 84 years, I learned why his story was a bestseller.
After sitting with Mr. Weathers over breakfast, engaging with him at the crosswalk, speaking to him from my car at the traffic light, and talking to him on the phone, I realized where his magnetism came from, why so many stopped and really listened to him. And then about a week ago, Mr. Weathers stopped. He used to say he helped God’s kings cross the street everyday. And now I imagine him helping us all cross the street from above.
His funeral was truly a celebration of life. We all walked out of Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church better people than when we walked in. That’s the power of living a life with legacy, with an intentional story to leave behind. It was like I had read much of his story but now had the book’s back cover in hand with supporting endorsements. And boy were those endorsements powerful.
Mr. Weathers lived a life with his own set of commandments. I assembled these words to live by from observations and conversations with Mr. Weathers and his loved ones. If we were all a little bit more like this gentleman, we would all be a little better off, as would our neighbors. So you see how it goes: the story starts with you and weaves into your neighbors and so on. And we live a happier, more intentional life that isn’t all about the self.
– Always treat your neighbor as your friend.
– Give compliments from the heart.
– Smile contagiously.
– Always have a purpose.
– A body in motion, stays in motion.
– You are what you eat.
– Food can bring great joy, like your wife’s pies.
– Give but don’t expect anything in return.
– Treat all children like your own.
– Really see other people.
– Really listen to others.
– Respect nature.
– Respect your neighbor.
– Be mindful with how you spend your money and time.
– Have faith and look up when you need support.
– Commit to your promises.
– Be timely.
– Turn towards your responsibilities.
– Help your neighbors.
– Live optimistically.
– Be humble.
– Have pride in what you do.
– Be disciplined.
– Laugh often.
– Always dress for the part.
– Do more than what’s asked of you.
– Speak up when you have something to contribute.
– Find a friend in life who you can call brother or sister.
– Be brave.
Let’s all be a little more like Mr.Weathers. Perhaps his name was no accident. He seemed to be able to weather anything that came his way while being a ray of sunshine for everyone around him. Shine on Mr. Weathers.