Encounter Another Human Being


I hope it goes both ways when I call Joe my friend. He is one of the residents in the apartments where Kay and I deliver meals on Wednesday.

I don’t know much of Joe’s back story. Maybe one day we’ll talk it out.

But I do know that Joe cares about his neighbors.

And in the past two weeks, neighbors on both sides of him have died: Walter (you met him here; he taught me so much) and Amy.

Both Walter and Amy were precious to me, too. Walter loved singing about God more than anyone I knew (hear him here, 30 seconds). And Amy is one of the residents who would ask how she could be praying for me. I can’t imagine not seeing either of them here again.

We often think we don’t have time to know our neighbors. Jeff and I rarely see ours. We think our lives are too scattered, too busy, too full as it is.

But Joe knew his neighbors.

Joe tells us each week if someone in the hospital. He often has an extra dog he’s keeping while another neighbor is in rehab. He keeps his hands and heart open for those around him.

Joe is living out a purpose.

And that purpose is loving people.

When we forget that life is all about people instead of projects, when we see others as distractions to our calling instead of the calling itself, when we think we lack the time or resources or confidence to touch others, we’re robbing both ourselves and others.

God plants a piece of himself in each person. When we see other people, we’re seeing another side of Christ.

  • People are what brings us joy.
  • People got us here.
  • And people will always be with us until we’re gone.

When we honor the piece of God in others, we are honoring the God of all of us.

I don’t know who the people are in your season and circle of life right now. But I know they are there for a reason. Just like the people in my life are.

We each are strategically and uniquely placed where we are and with the people we need to be with for a God-reason.

May we each reach deeper into our circles this week. Listen to each closer. Linger with each longer.

  • If we hear a need we can fill, let’s fill it.
  • If we see a heart we can touch, let’s touch it.
  • If we meet a friend to pray with, let’s pray with them.

I thank God that Walter and Amy had Joe in their lives while they were here.

And I thank God that I have Joe in my life right now.

* * *

Do you know your neighbors? Is there a Joe in your life? Please share in the comments.

36 thoughts on “Encounter Another Human Being

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m guilty as well. On one side of us are neighbors that we’ve known and loved since we’ve moved here. Our kids grew up together and we’ve spent lots of time together. But we don’t see them as often anymore since our kids have moved out. But on the other side of us are neighbors that I haven’t spent much time with. I’d like to do better with that.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s a beautiful testimony, Andrew. I remember how well we knew our neighbors when I was growing up. It’s a special bond to be close to the people you live around. I’m glad you have those relationships now!

  1. June

    To be the hands and feet of Jesus. As a whole, the enemy has done a good job of creating a culture that makes it hard and uncomfortable for us to make the effort of serving others. I’ve often asked God for creative ways to serve others. One of the things I love about God is how the answer can look different for each of us. Blessings on your week, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a beautiful prayer, June: “I’ve often asked God for creative ways to serve others.” I’ve not often prayed for creative ways, but I can pray it right now! Thank you, friend.

  2. Valerie Sisco

    How timely for me — your words hit home. I sometimes fail to see those around me as those God has purposed to cross my path and I could make more of an effort to reach out. I think it’s wonderful that you deliver meals and lend an ear to those who need to talk. Thank you for these words today! xo

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think we all fail at this occasionally (or often), Valerie. 🙁 It’s easy to walk right by people without really seeing them, or even to *listen* without really hearing them. I want to do better, too.

  3. floyd

    Joe’s a wise man. I’m like you; I struggle to associate with neighbors. One to many goofy ones along the way… But it is our calling. The funny part is that in community, and genuinely caring, we find better health, spiritually and physical.

    Sorry for your loss, Lisa.

    Thanks for the reminder and encouragement.

  4. Bill (cycleguy)

    Sadly, in our day and age, it is much easier to be island than to join in with other people. I love your words here Lisa because of the truth…we need each other. No matter the age. No matter our state in life. We need each other.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It is ironic that the more connected we get digitally, the less connected we seem to be personally. Yes, you’re right–we need each other. That’s truth.

  5. Pam

    I couldn’t agree with you more!! The Lord brings people into our lives in such unique ways many times. There are always things I can learn from them, ways I can find evidences of Jesus in them or the need for Him there. I know He calls me to be His light and life, His hands and hugs, His ears to hear their stories. One of the people who has come into my life from hundreds of miles away is you which is why you got mentioned in my post today!! 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      This is beautiful, Pam. I’m so glad God brings people into our lives and I feel honored that you included me in your post! I always enjoy reading your blog and getting to know you through your words. The internet may have a lot of flaws, but God has used it for much good.

  6. BettieG

    This is such a good reminder to truly see the people who are around us! I have a dear elderly Ukranian neighbor that I have helped out in various ways over the years. But I feel like she has brought more into my life than I could have possibly brought into hers. When she shares her stories of living through so many difficulties I always come away so encouraged because of the bravery with which she faced life. Thanks for your words that stirred my heart to be grateful again for blessings that surround me, through the people God brings into my path!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What an awesome experience to get to hear stories from your Ukranian neighbor! Not many of us can say we’ve gotten to do that. Isn’t that just like God to bless you in return for you blessing your neighbor. Thanks for sharing this, Bettie!

  7. Trudy

    I’m so sorry you and Joe lost friends, Lisa. I’m sure you get attached to these people you bring meals to as you’re one to notice them and pay attention to them. I love Joe’s example of loving others, too. Thank you for this inspiring reminder to see a piece of God in each person we meet. As I was reading this, a song went through me that is sometimes my prayer – “Break my heart for what breaks yours.” Love and hugs to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Trudy. I appreciate your sympathy. We do get close to these precious people and it’s hard to lose one after another. The death rate is higher and younger in this community and it makes it difficult. But still so worth it to get to know them while we can. Blessings to you, friend!

  8. Mary Geisen

    Your story today reminds me of the show This is Us. If you have watched it you know that we find out Randall’s dad made a point of knowing his neighbors well. It is a touching moment in the show. I know several of my neighbors but we still see each other seldomly. You challenge me today to know others because in the process we all become known.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a great analogy, Mary! Yes, I loved This Is Us, and what a perfect example of this. I thought that was such a beautiful touch to the show when the mailman came by and various neighbors. I hope that sticks with me and I act on it myself.

  9. Debbie Kitterman

    Lisa – such a great reminder that community is so important. We lived in the same house for 18+ years before we moved a few years ago. We knew all our neighbors in the cul-de-sac where we lived 6 houses in all – 2 not super welcoming or friendly but the other 4 of us would watch out for each other, we had 2 elderly ladies living in 2 of the houses and between us and our other neighbor we made sure when weather was wild and crazy they were ok. Since we moved, we have tried to do the same with our new neighbors, but it is a little harder connecting with being the new kids on the block. LOL I love your challenges at the end, that get us going beyond ourselves. Can we meet a need that we hear about? Mostly likely yes.

    Thank you for linking up with #TuneInThursday today! I am so blessed to have you linking your posts as part of the community each Thursday.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Aw, what a beautiful experience for those 18 years of getting to be true neighbors in every sense of the word. We live in a cul-de-sac as well. When our children and the neighbors’ children were younger, they would play outside until the sun would go down. But now that they’re all basically grown, our interactions with each other are so limited and I miss that. May your new neighborhood end up just as close as your old one! Thanks for sharing this, Debbie.

  10. Ashley Davis

    Appropriate post. I was just thinking that I would like to meet some of my neighbors in my new apartment. Maybe that will happen over the next few weeks. ?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I hope it does happen, Ashley! I’m so excited for you to be in a new place with your mom. I pray that it will go smoothly as you settle in. You’ve done good so far! 🙂

  11. Jean Wise

    I just wrote a chapter on community for a new book this week and matched much what you said. by the way love that Albert Schweitzer quote. BUT I don’t know many of my neighbors well for many of the reasons you listed. My hubby and I laugh as our house is built on an angle – we know the neighbors better that our home faces – ones we see them coming and going and some times talk to in the yards but actually our backs, well the back of the house is to another set of neighbors. I suppose there is a psychological and spiritual lesson to that, isn’t there? LOL. Met with a lady this week for spiritual direction and she commented on how lonely she is. I don’t think she is the only one. We need community

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m sure your chapter on community is amazing, Jean. Such a relevant topic when so many are connected digitally but are lonely in real life. 🙁 Thanks for sharing these thoughts here. Lots of lessons in knowing knowing the neighbors that we face instead of the ones to our backs….

  12. Summer

    I LOVE people! Maybe so much that I scare some of them! Lol! Last year, I was nearly dying from an undetected health issue. Through the hand of God, I have been delivered from so much of my suffering. I have learned how precious life is and how precious people are. It is my joy to pour into them like your friend Joe does. Your post is such a sweet tribute to him! I’m so glad I found you on Lori’s linkup!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a blessing that you were given the both the gift of life yourself and then the joy of life for others! I bet your attitude is contagious when you’re around people, Summer. Everyone wants to be loved. Thanks for sharing this about yourself. It makes me smile.

  13. Barbie

    We used to know our neighbors until we moved where we are now. We know the lady on one side of us, but otherwise, we don’t. It’s so hard with work schedules and busy weekends to find time to interact, but it is so important.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sometimes it seems there are seasons when it is easier to know our neighbors. When our children were young and played outdoors, we saw a lot more of our neighbors. Not so much anymore. 🙁

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