A Neighbor, a Tree and a New Friend

Now is a good time to do good. If you’ve visited ADRA’s Instagram page in the last month, you’ve probably seen photos and stories of how people all over the world are stepping up and doing good when it matters most.

But “doing good” doesn’t have to be big to make a big impact. Sometimes, it’s a hello shouted to a neighbor across the street, a fun chalk drawing or message on the sidewalk, or even just a simple phone call to a friend sheltering-in-place alone.

For Michael, doing good was pruning trees at his new house for his new neighbor.

When Michael bought his new home, he didn’t know that he would be moving into it just as Maryland issued a weeks’ long shelter-in-place order.

Michael had been looking forward to meeting his new neighbors, but with everyone staying home he began to feel like maybe he wouldn’t get to meet them for several weeks.

One day, he saw his next-door neighbor just getting home from running errands.

“I saw my next-door neighbor—she’s an elderly woman—and I called out to greet her from across the yard and we talked a bit,” Michael said. “I noticed that there were a couple trees that she has between our properties that were growing over her roof. She has a beautiful dogwood tree and they were really growing into that so I asked if I could clean up the trees a bit and clean up the yard from the mess I made.”

Michael’s neighbor agreed, and he climbed up and pruned some of the branches so they weren’t growing over her roof and tangling with her lovely dogwood. Now, Michael says, “we’re both enjoying the view, and the new friendship.”

For Michael, lending a hand to his neighbor made all the difference in connecting with people in his new neighborhood. He’s now met all his neighbors as he sees them doing yard work or arriving home.

“I’ve met all my neighbors from a distance, just kind of shouting out our names,” explained Michael. “It’s been such a delight to see my neighbors and just check in on each other. There is a deeper desire to connect with people and I definitely feel like my relationships with neighbors will be stronger at the end because of this.”

Life has undoubtedly changed in the past few months, and even as some states begin tentatively reopening, our new normal will be different than before.

But through all the chan