Would it Matter to You if Your Neighbor Moved?

I tried my best to smile when our neighbors recently told me that they were getting their house ready to sell. I forced myself to say all the right things you should say when someone has “exciting” news. It truly felt bittersweet. When I told Danielle, my wife, she responded that all she saw was the bitter not the sweet.

It is exciting news for our neighbors. Their family is growing and they need more space. Plus the market for our neighborhood is hot, so they should sell their home quickly and with a profit.

So why would it matter to me if they moved? They are just neighbors. Aren’t neighbors those people who you only wave at as you pull in or out of your driveway or put your trash out by the curb on trash pick-up days?

How many of us have lived by neighbors for several years, and when we see a “for sale” sign go up in the yard, we say to our spouse, “Hey honey, the neighbors just put their house up for sale.” “Really, which ones?” “Uh, you know the ones that live across the street. Please don’t ask me their name!”

Is that really a neighbor?

I guess because of the simplest definition of the word—someone who lives in close proximity—even if you can’t remember their name, you can call them a neighbor. But I want my “neighbors” to be more than someone who lives a few feet away.

I long for community. I want to not only know my neighbor’s name, I hope to do life together with those who live closest to me if possible.

I want to celebrate joyous occasions as well as support them through challenging ones. I desire to have neighbors that trust us as much as we trust them. I hope to have neighbors that feel comfortable enough to come over without a formal invite while still respecting healthy boundaries.

This means that my neighbors who choose to live life with us get to really know us. They learn what is important to us; what we believe; how we parent; what we struggle with; and what we enjoy.

I understand that not everyone wants this. For many they see their home as a refuge that provides an escape from the world around them. This is especially true if your neighbors have a different worldview.

Even though we live in a typical middle-class, mostly white, suburb, not all of us have the same worldview. My neighbors across the street have a Jewish heritage. My neighbors on one side have made it clear that they have no interest in Christianity.

You know what? I am not only cool with that, I love it. As long as we show mutual respect, become friends, and care for one another, I want that kind of community.

My Christian friends, especially those I go to church with probably struggle some with that last comment. But it is important to note that I am not saying that I am turning away from my faith. Or, that we don’t see value or necessity in gathering with other believers. We need and want that.

I hear Christians talk about community. It’s almost a buzz-word in our context. But I think they usually refer to living in community with those whom we attend church. And, most of these people look and think like I do. Nothing wrong with that, except I don’t live next to any of them.

Finding that rhythm. 

The more I understand community and neighboring, I think about the pace of our family’s life.

The fact is I only have so much margin—time with which to live life. More and more I choose to live life in a more natural rhythm, and that includes living life with those who live closest to me.

So does it matter to me that my neighbor is moving? Yes! They have become a true neighbor—our friends.

Thank you Keith and Kelly for being some of the best neighbors we could hope for.  We miss you already!

What does “neighbor” mean to you?

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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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11 thoughts on “Would it Matter to You if Your Neighbor Moved?

  1. Oh this was so sweet! We are going to miss you guys so much. I’m definitely going through a “what if we’ve made a mistake” phase right now. I don’t like change and this is a BIG one. I’m second guessing it every day and I’ve already shed a few tears. There will never be anyone like you guys!

    • Kelly, I understand the second-guessing! I trust that you will be blessed with great neighbors in your new place. And, as Keith keeps saying, we are just a few miles away.

  2. Kenny,
    It has been great getting to know our neighbors better this year. We started a small group in our neighborhood that is made up of 4 families. So we get to meet with them every Wednesday night for food, fellowship, prayer and discussion.

    We have also attended happy hour, and hosted happy hour, with two other couples in our neighborhood. We are really enjoying getting to know them as well. We are really blessed to have friendly neighbors who want to build community on our block. I hope to do life with them for many years to come.

  3. Very interesting thought. After Tom went home to be with the Lord my son,Sean, thought I should sell and move. I gave it thought but the one thing that keeps me here are my neighbors /friends. At least three of the neighbors have children that have grown up with mine. Since last March they are always checking to be sure everything is ok. These are friends that would be hard to leave. I could sell and not have to worry about finances for several years but the Lord is taking care of me. Friends / neighbors are so important. We really need to be sure to get to know them. God puts people in our lives for a reason. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Theresa, I can see the tension between selling your home to take of financial needs and remaining there because of the support of your neighbors. Thank you for sharing this very real perspective!

  4. We recently moved after living in a house for three years. No big deal we thought.
    We had dinner with the neighbors across the street a few times, but did not consider them close friends. We were not prepared for the level of emotion we got from them when we told them we were moving across town . They were so sad !
    Fortunatately, we have been able to maintain our friendship and have become
    close friends.

  5. Ok…I cried when I read the last two lines. Kenny usually doesn’t share what he writes about so I read it just like everyone else when he posts it. I needed a heads up for this one. Just the thought of not having Keith & Kelly across the street makes my heart ache. And, not seeing Trey grow up and our sons playing together…well…I can’t think about that. I am excited for them and have this crazy notion we might be able to fit in play dates from time to time. 🙂

  6. Great thinking, Kenny! Keith and I just had this conversation. We could clear over $150,000 on our house (after fees, upgrades, ect). We would love a little land in Liberty Hill. We really could and not have to start all over with a mortgage again, but we decided we just can not leave our neighbors right now. And what is better? Our kids agree! So much of our time and energy have gone into those relationships and we love all of them. If the day came that we really did move out a bit, I know our decision would not be made lightly. (Honestly I keep being tempted by the thought of the goats and chickens we could have!)