Please follow this flowing stream of words around a few bends of thought.
The southernmost neighbor asked a friend if he could use his tractor and snow blower for our driveway. I think he saved us all a lot of money. I sent him a text “hey neighbor, awesome job blowing out the drive. I want to make sure you include me on the expenses so I do my part” He texted back “I got it covered, thanks”
So how did we get to be such good neighbors? Ah, relational questions. let’s continue.
This weekend my northernmost neighbor visited his cabin. His offshoot of a driveway was partially plowed (only to his shovel barely sticking out of a drift). He couldn’t possibly shovel the rest of the way as it would take all weekend. He bought a big walk behind snow blower. A couple hours later he made it to the garage, then the house.
Listen in on our conversation and get a feel for our relationship. Me, “great job blowing snow!, I didn’t know you had a blower.” Neighbor, “I had to go buy a blower just to get in, so if you ever need a blower, I’ve got a good one.” Me, “thanks man, did you buy it from the dealer down the road?” Neighbor, “nope, I took one look at the place and decided they know nothing about blowers.”
Stop right here! This is a worldwide problem. The fix is as hard as changing our DNA
I drove to the local sales place just to take some pictures. I dare say that they could sell 10 times the number of snow blowers if they used some of them to blow their own snow. That tractor with a snowblower attachment would have sold (many possibly) by now. I’ve been in sales and it’s a good idea (and requires a little extra work).
Here’s the deal: Life’s storms heap a mess on us way too often. We all end up with issues in our lives more often than we care to think about. Relationships with our neighbors, co-workers, bosses, businesses and even between politicians (gasp). I’m telling you, it’s in our DNA to mess up life with each other.
What would America or any other nation look like if just our politicians interacted like my neighbors and I? We don’t know each other very well. We have quite different belief systems and philosophies in how to do life yet tackle issues common to us together. We do have one thing in common though We know how to go the extra mile.
I have a few suggestions, just to counteract our natural DNA bent as people
Go the extra mile. Don’t be lazy. Blow out the snow if you sell snow blowers. What ever product you are touting, make it look like it will serve others well. Have an extra good blower for the closest church to blow out peoples drives and walks that cannot do it themselves. Why? because you care…right? And, yes, there is a cost to caring, initially.
Go the extra mile. Visit and meet your neighbor, let them know you are there for them when you have established a little trust. Bring them cookies or do something out of your way with no strings attached because you are and will be a good neighbor. Teach and model how to be a good neighbor. You can do this …right? The proof that you are a good neighbor is when they begin to be one to you.
Go the extra mile. Make your social media of such that strangers who think way different than you would like to emulate you. Arguments, no matter how “right” you are do not solve problems, they only make the relational and ideological rifts further apart.
Go the extra mile. I’ll say it again, do not keep score. My neighbor just bought me an appliance dolly. “They were on sale” he said. I thanked him profusely. I didn’t see that coming but I think he is trying and not succeeding in keeping score. I have told him that I grew up in a family that does not keep score but we help when we can.
Go the extra mile. Spend a little extra money on people. Make being relational with others a priority. The world is too small for several billion people running around with me, me, me first actions. The money is less important than people. feel free to disagree with that one because that’s a hard one to act out in real life. I once paid way too much for a car from a student trying to get to college. I was in college at the time. It hurt but I had a full time job and full time college load. He needed it more.
As I type and twitch a little, I have asked a guy who really needs some extra cash to shovel off our house. He has a newborn at the house and has some needs. Here’s the twitch. He gave me a low bid. Great! I told him when he is done we will review the bid and I will pay more if warranted. Trust me, it will be warranted and I will insist even if he says it is OK. It will cost some extra money but on this one he needs me to choose the extra mile this time.
The extra mile is an investment in one’s character and should be a valued thread woven throughout our society. It starts with each one of us personally. It’s hard work that pays huge dividends realized by many others down the road.
Now, my disclaimer: I can be a good negotiator when needed. I might buy something cheaper than you intended to sell it for. Sorry. I will probably turn and give it to the roof guy.
My Testimony: All this to say I have no claims on sainthood. Any claims to the molding of my character are credited to knowing Jesus Christ. This works! Does it make sense that being a follower of Jesus pushes me to emulate His ways and character? No one becomes like Christ by sheer will power. Jesus changes our natural DNA character…ever so slowly over time. This is what makes me tick. Jesus is my most important relationship
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)
I should really sell snowblowers with “Go the extra mile” stickers on them. That’s a clue for the clueless (people like me sometimes) to do the neighbors drive if needed.
I’m quite sure you can identify the places where you may need to go the extra mile. Make it so and your world will be a better place. It comes back around. eventually.
Update: Ok guys, fess up. Two days after I posted this, the sales place all of a sudden displayed their wares snow free. Either the owner is back from Hawaii (?) or somebody gave them a call. Maybe coincidence? Anyway, good for them…I might buy that tractor.