Get to know your neighbors; you’ll be glad you did

The roads from Gulfport to Tupelo/Oxford have been heating up as of late.

There has been too much action to write about here requiring a Mawmaw’s attention.

Mostly it has been grandbabies and their athletic events. This month it’s the Grand Opening of Jasper & Company, Modern Style-Vintage Charm.

My daughter Melanie and her husband JJ have five girls and a son. Every one of them has to eat, go to college and just think about the weddings to come makes a heart faint.

So they are opening a boutique, which will hopefully help with all of the above.

Yet, knowing the kids there is going to be a side bar to the whole thing. My prayer is the people coming through the doors won’t only find unique items, but they will find a place to visit, share and know someone cares. A listening place.

We all need someone to listen over a cup of coffee and my Mel is a pro at hearing. I think it’s because there are so many calling her name, she has learned to discern need and triage the conversations.

Our pastor said in his message Sunday, “How many of you know the names of the cashiers where you shop? Have you ever talked to the tellers at the bank and the guy who services the car? Do you take time to be present and get to know people?”

I’ve been on shopping trips with my daughter and they are always an adventure because she usually has had a little one, or two or three little ones in tow while trying to navigate the aisles. Then when she actually makes it the cash register and has to stand in line where strategically placed items catch her children’s eyes it’s on…

Mamas you understand. Well, over the course of the years she has gotten on first name basis with most of the people working in the stores she frequents. They know the kids’ names, and she knows their children’s and their hopes and dreams. Since, she usually has a boat load of stuff to be scanned there’s a lot of time to share.

I love it because even at the bank’s drive thru, the conversation is always personal. The tellers know the kids’ favorite suckers and Mel knows the heartache or the joy being experienced by most. She always worries if she has forgotten to ask about a health concern or pray for a need. Listening and caring.

It brings me to shame, y’all. There is such a tendency to get all wrapped up in my own little world at the great expense of opening my eyes to a huge world of humanity. Humanity, real people with real needs. Nobody should be invisible.

That’ll preach. In every venture there is the possibility of caring present. It may be a simple smile, a question that shows you care, but most importantly a listening ear. Social media can never take the place of true conversation and human contact. So, let’s make a point of buying into some vintage charm of long ago…it’s scriptural… “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13

Kandi Anderson, a freelance correspondent, also is a speaker on matters of faith and values.