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Have you noticed that there are two kinds of people? There are those who wave and those who don’t. I have observed this quite a bit while navigating the alleys in our neighborhood. It seems to me that the natural thing to do when you find yourself in one of those awkward alley moments (you know, when two vehicles going in opposite directions are faced off against one another) is to wave. One person should yield and wave the other person on by, while the other person waves in appreciation. My observation is that some people do, while others appear to be constitutionally opposed to waving.

Things are somewhat friendlier up in the country around Siete Ranch. If you drive a pickup truck, which I do, and you pass another pickup truck on the farm-to-market road, chances are that both parties are going to wave. I’m not sure if this is a sign that pickup owners are naturally more friendly, or if there is an underlying assumption that there must be some deeply held and shared values amongst those who drive them.

If you drive through the really big and remote country in west Texas or New Mexico, you will find that nearly everyone waves. I think this is because, if you live in a sparsely populated area, nearly everyone seems like a neighbor. Brewster County (Texas), for instance, has a land mass of over 6,000 square miles, but a population of just over 9,000. By comparison, Connecticut’s population of over 3.5 million reside in an area somewhat smaller than Brewster County.

A lawyer once asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus, oddly enough, never really answered the question. Instead, he told a story about what it means to be a neighbor. I’ve always found that to be one of the most fascinating passages in the New Testament. For Jesus, the question isn’t whether someone is or is not your neighbor, but whether you are acting neighborly. In his story acting neighborly meant taking care of someone who had been beaten, robbed, and left on the side of the road. But I don’t think being neighborly has to always be that strenuous. Sometimes, I think it could simply be a matter of waving at someone you meet in the alley. (reprinted from May 16, 2013)

Rev. Don Underwood