Beyond Differences

By Joel Dye –

There were many reasons why my wife and I chose to move into the central neighborhoods of Holland. One reason was that we would be in close proximity to the city’s amenities, such as the library, downtown, Moran Park, Washington Square, and the Farmer’s Market.  Another essential reason was the opportunity to live amongst people who came from different backgrounds.

Over the years, we have had the wonderful experience of living next to Jesus and Yolanda.  When Jesus first moved in, he spoke perfect broken English and I spoke perfect broken Spanish.  Even though our spoken communication was limited at the beginning that did not limit us in working side by side as neighbors.  Our first interaction occurred when Jesus had a plumbing issue in his basement and water was leaking.  He asked whether I could come over and help. I connected Jesus with a plumber who could help.  The following week, I heard a lawn mower outside my window.  When I looked outside, I saw Jesus mowing my front lawn.

Our spoken communication has become stronger and this neighborly relationship has continued.  Over this last winter, more than once, I came home to see my driveway shoveled, which prompted me to shovel Jesus’ sidewalk and the fire hydrant in front of his house.   Several times we found ourselves helping each other at the same time.

I feel that this type of relationship is what Christ wants to see in our neighborhoods, a relationship that looks beyond differences and chooses to be proactive in working together.

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