Lessons from Tim 'The Tool Man' Taylor

Friday, November 27, 2015

I watched a lot of 'Home Improvement' when I was a kid, and though I did not learn much about how to improve my home, what Tim 'the tool man' Taylor did teach me was the importance of neighbours. 

A beautiful Birthday pie for Nick made by the Hochstetlers
The funny thing about neighbours is that you don't really get to choose your neighbours, they are just sort of put next to you and you have to deal with them. Sometimes they are people that you wouldn't look twice at walking by them, you may not do the same activities, they could be doing you down right don't like or maybe they end up being a person just like you. Whoever they are, it's amazing to realize just as Tim and Wilson realized (unlikely friends they were as well), that it is a much needed thing having someone physically close by to help us in our times of need. Whether it be a word of advice, a cup of sugar or borrowing a car; being able to quick run over knock on someone's door (or look over the fence) is a blessing indeed. 

I've had the blessing of having good neighbours most of my life and I remember them all with fondness. Neighbours when I was a child in Grande Prairie, roommates and friends down the hall in Oklahoma and Galveston, borrowing my sisters awesome neighbours as my own in Sherwood park and now here in Congo. 
Nick blowing out his candles with the kids!
They have all made an amazing impact on my life and I will always remember them. 

I am so lucky here to Congo to live right across the road from 2 families that are amazing neighbours. The thing about Congo is that at some point or another you will need each other for something big, I will need them and they will need me. So I decided a few years ago that there was really no point in keeping track, or paying back. There's no point to keeping score of who helps who more. We all need each other. 

I think that's maybe the message of the Good Samaritan as well, it is someone that became physically close to someone who needed help, and he helped him, without asking for anything back because maybe he knew that one day he would need help and hoped that someone close to him would be a good neighbour as well. The amazing thing about that story as well is that the Good Samaritan didn't seem to have any special skills, he was just a normal guy. I don't think that he was a doctor or anyone important, but he did the best he could. He bound his wounds, and he took him to a place to rest. I wonder what happened when the Samaritan came back to that inn, I wonder if they became lifelong friends after that, if a friendship was formed that would never be forgotten by either party. 
Finally completed Angel food cake! 

All of that to say that, the other day I was in a bind, it was Nicks birthday and I wanted to make him an Angel food cake. So I stated early at 6:30am cause I wanted to make it before the power went off... And I read the instructions wrong and I ruined it... my awesome neighbours told me not to go to the store to buy more eggs, cause well Kinshasa traffic on Saturday is the worst and they gave me another dozen eggs to try my hand at the cake again. It probably would have taken me about 2 hours to get to and from the store (which is only 1 km away) on a Saturday. It may seem small, and they didn't even things twice about offering it, but it is times like that when I realize just how blessed we are. 

I have so many stories about the times they and many others have helped us that I can hardly count. I just know that without good neighbours throughout my entire life, I would not be the person I am today. So thank you to all my neighbours, everyone from when I was a child and you let me come over and play with your dogs and pick your raspberries; to today for making our lives in Congo worthwhile despite its many hard days. 

So lets be good neighbours together... I promise it will be worth it.

Crazy Congo Neighbours!