Love your neighbor.

Reflections With Robert - Sumer of Love - May 29, 2020

05-29-2020

Much of my research over the last week has transported me to the fertile plain lodged between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. In school we used to call that region Mesopotamia. Historians typically refer to it as Sumer. Archaeologists tell you it’s “the cradle of civilization” or “fertile crescent." Today we simply know it as Iraq. 

You wouldn’t know it by the looks of things today, but in 3500 B.C. the land was incredibly lush and unspoiled by human intervention. There was no desert back then, but freely growing grain as far as the eye could see. It was a veritable paradise, and so a weary band of tightly-knit family, friends, and neighbors ceased their years of weary walking, settled down, and made the region their permanent home. It was the first of many decisions these nomadic neighbors would make that would change the course of history forever. It was the day that civilization began.

Creating a civilization is no easy task. Imagine for a moment the world stretched out before you, devoid of all manmade substance. Emptiness. Barrenness. Nothing but the land to work and grow. Intimidating, right?

But they were not alone. They had each other.

And so the Sumerians quickly got to work. Being farmers and harvesters for as long as any man or woman could remember, they decided on a spot beside the fertile Euphrates River. Their choice seemed perfect. Working as one, they began by building huts of reed and straw. They had plenty materials and collected everything from the banks of the southeasterly-flowing river which emptied itself at the Persian Gulf. In those days, there was no competition to prove who could build faster, better, or bigger. The only thing that mattered was survival at any cost. And so when one hut was finished, the neighborly thing to do was to plug oneself in and help where help was needed most.

A few months later, the rains began to fall. It was a shame, because life had just begun to take on a peaceful sense of normalcy. It didn’t take long for the fruits of their labor to literally vanish. One day, they all woke up to find each and every house had been destroyed. The greatest invention of man - the first permanent homes - had all been washed away by the mighty current of the flooded Euphrates River. 

But they had each other. And so they started again.

Returning to the overflowing banks to gather more reed and straw, they vowed to do it better the second time around. This time, they made their houses bigger and sturdier. Little did they know the rainy season had only just begun. Their houses began to leak. The ground turned to mud. The weaker houses collapsed, so neighbors ran through the rain to pile into crammed houses with others neighbors. Everyone hoped that the sun would shine again tomorrow.

And yet it didn’t. 

But in the midst of all of the turmoil, an unusual act of science was about to take place. When one of the neighbors, perhaps chosen randomly, went to grab a pile of grain from the leaky storehouse, he noticed something odd. The grain and liquid around it were bubbling. Curious and shockingly brave enough stick his finger in it, the Sumerian tasted it ever-so-cautiously. He was the first person in human history to taste a droplet of fermenting beer. It was an accident - and in the middle of a furious storm to boot - but the drenched neighbor was pleased. Even still, he had no idea that a brand new trade and career path had just opened up to him: the very first brewer/bartender. 

It didn’t take long for the rain and floods to finally recede. In the process, the entire neighborhood had once again been reduced to nothingness. Perhaps it was on a trip to the riverside to gather reed and straw for new houses that an inebriated Sumerian slipped in the mud. Failing to clean himself thoroughly enough, the muddy grime would cake his skin as the afternoon sun beat heavily upon him. Suddenly, an idea flashed before his eyes: “Instead of making houses with flimsy reed and straw, why don’t we try to make them out of river mud?” Being the village drunk, he was probably laughed at for a couple of weeks or so until his own house began looking mighty fine. Thus, another genius idea was born: houses covered in clay. Before the next rainy season had yet to begin, the first civilization began to grow, flourish, and strengthen.

Within 400 years, the world’s first cities along the Tigris River were bustling with sturdy clay houses, lively neighborhoods, overflowing taverns, noisy marketplaces, and crammed city squares where neighbors came to gather as a community for the peaceful exchange of new ideas. By 3100 B.C., the same people who had created all of those other firsts were the same people who invented the written language and the world’s first book, The Epic of Gilgamesh

How did they do it? How could a ragtag bunch of nomadic wanderers advance the world ahead in such incredible leaps and bounds within the span of mere generations? 

They did it by working together. By understanding the value each of them brought to the table. By protecting each other’s best interests and leaving no man, woman, or child behind. By trying, failing, and trying again. By establishing community.

They did all of that by simply being neighbors.  


 

Latest News

Reflections With Robert - Revolutionary - August 31, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Community - August 17, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Between Waking and Sleeping - August 3, 2020

4th Annual Be A Good Neighbor Week Recap

Reflections With Robert - The Greatest Art - July 13, 2020

Now Hiring: Project Facilitator

Summer Intern Spotlight - Ben Richards

Reflections With Robert - Strangers and Sojourners - July 5, 2020

Summer Intern Spotlight - Kyle Zurbuch

Reflections With Robert - In Silence - June 29, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Enemy Territory - June 20, 2020

Reflections With Robert - When the Conscience Speaks -June 12, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Sumer of Love - May 29, 2020

Reflections With Robert - The First Four Months - May 22, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Strangers Into Neighbors - May 15, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Rebirth - May 8, 2020

#GivingTuesdayNow

PRESS RELEASE: $5,000 Grant from AWS Foundation

Reflections With Robert - City of Smiles - April 24, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: $25,000 Grant from Foellinger Foundation

Reflections With Robert - Blessed are the Poor - April 17, 2020

Now Hiring: Videographer

Reflections With Robert - Mindfulness - April 10, 2020

How Churches Can Use NeighborLink During Covid-19

Reflections With Robert - Quan Am - April 2, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Siopao - March 27, 2020

NeighborLink's Role as an Essential Non-Profit

How To Post Additional Projects For Same Neighbor

Reflections With Robert - Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times - March 23, 2020

Loving Your Neighbor, One Call at a Time

In the Aftermath

How to Love Your Neighbor (In Times Like These)

3.16.20 Press Release - NEIGHBORLINK FORT WAYNE RESPONSE PLANS TO COVID-19

Volunteer Opportunities - Food Delivery

Volunteer Recommendations During COVID-19

3.13.20 - OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE

NL Renewing Partnership with AmeriCorps for Exciting Job Opportunities

Reflections With Robert - Moving Day - March 9, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Smidging - March 2, 2020

Bernie on a Journey - Part 28 - February 28, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Margin - February 24, 2020

Bernie on a Journey - Part 27 - February 22, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Abad - February 17, 2020

Bernie on a Journey - Part 26 - February 14, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Pothole - February 10, 2020

Bernie on a Journey - Part 25 - February 7, 2020

Bernie on a Journey - Part 24 - January 31, 2020

Reflections With Robert - Journey to Day One - February 3, 2020

Bernie on a Journey - Part 23 - January 10, 2020

Bernie on a Journey - Part 22 - December 20, 2019

Celebrating Another Great Year at NeighborLink

The Final Turnstone Ramp

Bernie on a Journey - Part 21 - December 6, 2019

Giving Tuesday!

Bernie on a Journey - Part 20 - November 29, 2019

Bernie on a Journey - Part 19 - November 22, 2019

Bernie on a Journey - Part 18 - November 15, 2019

What Makes a Healthy Neighborhood, Healthy? Research Report

Bernie on a Journey - Part 17 - November 8, 2019

Bernie on a Journey - Part 16 - November 1, 2019

Bernie on a Journey - Part 15 - October 25, 2019

Bernie on a Journey - Part 14 - October 21, 2019

Bernie on a Journey - Part 13 - A Busy Multi-Week Recap

Bernie on a Journey - Part 12 - September 13, 2019

Bernie on a Journey - Part 11 - September 6, 2019

Bernie on a Journey - Part 10 - August 30, 2019

NeighborLink Fort Wayne Teams up with Addison Agen to Host Concert

Bernie on a Journey - Part 9 - August 23, 2019

Bernie on a Journey - Part 8 - August 16, 2019

Recent Website Improvements

Bernie on a Journey - Part 7 - August 9, 2019

Bernie on a Journey - Part 6 - August 2, 2019

Bernie On A Journey - Part 5 - July 26, 2019

Bernie On A Journey - Part 4 - July 19, 2019

Bernie On A Journey - Part 3 - July 12, 2019

Bernie On A Journey - Part 2 - June 27, 2019

Bernie On A Journey - Part 1 - June 24, 2019

Let???s start from the top???At The Link with Steve Erick

Home Incentive Program (HIP) & What Makes A Healthy Neighborhood Healthy

Who's Posting All The Projects?

NeighborLink Teams Up with AmeriCorps for Exciting Job Opportunities

Showing Up for 15 Years

Hiring! Motion Graphics Apprentice

2018 NeighborLink Fall Leaf Raking Assistance

Hiring! Videographer Apprentice

Be A Good Neighbor Week Recap

NeighborLink In The News Recently

We're offering a Home Owner Improvement Grant: Is it for you?

The Wheel Chair Ramp Story

An Opportunity to be a Good Neighbor

NeighborLink Welcomes Three New Staff

NeighborLink Growing Again

At The Table Lunch Series

Easter Reflections

Innovation Comes In Many Forms

Gardens For Good Collaboration

2018 Be A Good Neighbor Week - July 9-14th

2017 Annual Report

We're In This Together

Finding the Intersection - AWS Foundation

Living out a Familiar Call in Unfamiliar Ways - Brotherhood Mutual

A Mission To Serve - The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne

A New Era of Nonprofit Leadership - Foellinger Foundation

On Investing Well - M.E. Raker Foundation

2017 - NeighborLink Year End Event

#GivingTuesday - Help Rolland Get Heat

Love Tells A Story - Year-End Event

A Day In The Life of Jeff Shatto

Recap of "Be a Good Neighbor Week"

Why Be a Good Neighbor Week

Be a Good Neighbor Week - July 10th - 14th

The Power of an Intentional Birthday

NeighborLink is Hiring - Volunteer Recruitment Director

NeighborLink In The News

The Difference You Make

New NeighborLink Features & Changes

9 Years and Counting

2016 - "At The Link" - Where We're At

700 Completed Projects in 2016

New NeighborLink Website!

St Vincent DePaul Society - Year End Impact

100 Completed Projects in a Month!

"Blinded"

Leaf Raking Season Is Here!

The Sacrifice of Giving

Team NL Cyclocross Riders Are Cycling to Raise $6000+ for Neighbors in Need

NeighborLink Collaborates with Bravas

When You Can't Help Everyone

Summer Recap and Looking Forward

Behind Our "Get Out of Your House" Video

Recap of August Service Days

Update on NeighborLink's Search for a New Building

What I Learned While Volunteering

Jake & Mallory Shinneman, Team NeighborLink

Update on $100,00 Grant

Gay Penland, Volunteer

Ben Steele, Team NeighborLink Ambassador

25 Years Strong: Dayton Group Keeps Serving, This Year in Fort Wayne

Here's What's Been Happening with Mission Serve This Week

Spending a Day with Jeff Shatto, Director of Mobilization

The Alveys, Neighbors

Chris Minick, Neighbor

JP & Grub 'n Go

Kami's Reflection on Internship Experience

Carol Kortokrax, Neighbor

Intern Nicole Talks About Her Experience So Far

NeighborLink Completes 15th Wheelchair Ramp for 2016!

Kat Reflects on First Few Weeks of Her Internship

Even More Website Updates

Website Updates

The $100,000 Update

We're Hiring! Program Support Person

Want $5,000 To Help A Neighbor In Need? We've Got it.

NeighborLink Partners with the City of Fort Wayne

Missional Coffee Gatherings with NeighborLink

New Committees at NeighborLink

NeighborLink Searching for Contractors to Hire To Skilled Projects

2016 Winter Training Series

Furnace Fundraising Report

Neighbors At The Table Event Recap

Feathers For Heat - Fundraising Campaign

Meet Elisa Layton, NL's New Program Director

It's Leaf Raking Season

Esther Gets New Roof!

NeighborLink Receives $8,000 Grant

NeighborLink Fort Wayne Receives $500 Donation from AT&T

I'm Growing and I'm Grateful

NeighborLink Women's Breakfast Gathering

New Feature - Text & Email Notifications

A Family Affair: The Story of the Menefe Roofing Project

NLFW.org Features - Service Events

Volunteers Respond to Fort Wayne Flooding

NeighborLink Welcomes Summer Intern, Katie Fair

Meet Millie! Our New Mobile Project Management Vehicle

Running For a Roof

Can Burgers Make a Difference?

"Neighbor-To-Neighbor"

Volunteering In Crisis Situations

March 28th - Intro to NL & Volunteer Training

Creating Project Type Maps

Volunteering: Small Things Make Big Changes

Walking In Winter

The Extra Step

NeighborLink Seeking Design Intern

Recent NeighborLink Website Updates!

NeighborLink Network Android App Launches!

NeighborLink Welcomes Heather Schoegler to its Board of Directors

Volunteers Painted 122 City of Fort Wayne Fire Hydrants

It's Leaf Raking Season!

NeighborLink To Present at IN Statewide Conference on Oct 1st

Recent Website Updates

"How Many Yards Can You Mow In One Day?"

The Committed Few

Roxanne's Landscaping Project

Team NeighborLink Meet & Greet Info Session

35 Volunteers Help at Camp Red Cedar

Summer Volunteer Schedule at NeighborLink

Fundraiser Success! Allena Got a Hot Water Heater

Not Your Usual Birthday

Project Recap: St Francis Students Paint Garage

Project 200 in 2014 Just Completed!

IPFW Big Event Recap

Welcome Jeff Shatto To NLFW

NL Welcomes Derek Webb - May 24th

Moving Project Success

Exploring the Role of Dignity at NeighborLink

New Website Overview

The Crossing & NeighborLink Partner

We Always Appreciate the Promotion

The Beauty in the Challenge

2013 Year In Review

Encouraging Words.

NeighborLink Year-End Event - December 3rd

Neighbor Of The Year Nomination

A Little Thank You

The Nameless

Brett Meyer Is Raising $1000 For NeighborLink At Fort4Fitness

Who Will You Nominate for Neighbor of the Year?

Intern Update: Last Day (For real this time)

Big Advice Can Come in Small Packages

Intern Update: LAST DAY...sort of.

Picnicking Success!!

Tip #3: Have Conversations with your Neighbors

Lula & Willie's New Railings

Lunch and Learn - Heather Schoegler

Tip #2: Lend a Hand

New Porch Completed!

NeighborLink joins 3 Rivers Raft Race!

Roxann's House

Intern Update: How Time Flies

Tip #1: Take Cookies To Your Neighbor

Code Enforcement Is A Great Partner

Got Tips?

Putting forth the Effort

Lunch & Learn: Joe & Becky

Rejecting Apathy in Service

Empowering the Youth!

Lord, I Need You

Do more than exist.

Top 5 Things to know about working for NL

Project #4461: Coming Together to Help Roberta

Be Extraordinary in the Ordinary!

Lunch n' Learn: John Barce

A World of Beauty

What Makes a Great Neighbor?

Hydrants: Round One = Complete

Small Things Impacting Neighborhoods

An Honest Confession

An Intern Update: Reflecting at Yummee's

Let us Celebrate the Crowd Funding!

Relationships vs. the Works

Scraping, Painting, & Learning

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.

Appreciating the Fire Hydrants

Introducing Your NL Interns

Connecting The Dots: Team NeighborLink

Intern Update By Andrew & Jon - 5.7.13

NeighborLink Fort Wayne Birthday Campaign

This Makes It Worth It

Weigand Construction Volunteers With NeighborLink Fort Wayne

Hack-A-Thon Recap

Thank You For Your Service

Cornerstone Youth Center Spring Break Project 2013

Engaging the Recipient Training Notes

Intern Update By Andrew & Jon - 4.8.13

NLFW.org Hack-A-Thon! Friday, April 26th

New Coach Resource

Update - Urgent Moving Project - It's Almost Done

Summer Internship Opportunities

Small Things Video Series - Food

How Projects Get Funded at NeighborLink

We Love Getting Thank You Cards

We Still Get Surprised

We're Looking For Web Developers

Where Are You Going to Sit?

The Justice Conference - Simulcast in Fort Wayne

Intern Update By Andrew & Jon

Funded Project Report - Project 4243

10 Things We're Working On In 2013

Meet The New Interns - Jonathan Purdy

Meet The New Interns - Andrew Schnurr

10 Things You Should Know About How 2012 Went at NeighborLink

1st Successfully Funded Project in 2013

Thanks, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

New Love Your Neighbor T-Shirts

Our Reflect. Rejoice. Renew. Event was a Success!

Core Philosophies Reminder

Reflect. Rejoice. Renew. Film

A Conversation Between Two Pastors - Part 4

A Conversation Between Two Pastors - Part 3

A Conversation Between Two Pastors - Part 2

A Conversation Between Two Pastors - Part 1

Calling Artists for December 10th Event

Thanks Three Rivers Wesleyan!

Going from Volunteer to Coach

4th Annual Leaf Raking Challenge - Nov 10th

Around The Block - Telling The Stories of NeighborLink

The People of The Second Chance

Energizing Indiana & NeighborLink Fort Wayne

NeighborLink, Meet Viola..Your Neighbor

Volunteers Exceeded 500 Projects in 2012!

Casting New Vision For the NLFW Advisory Group

Jeff Shatto Rides 682 Miles For NeighborLink Fort Wayne

Raise The Roof Was a Success!

Our First Fully Crowd-Funded Project!

New Kid on The Block - Week 6 - HEART

Raise The Roof Promo Video

New Kid on The Block - Week 5 - PURPOSE: IT???S FOR THE BIRDS

The Story of Grub & Go - New Videos

Raise The Roof - 5 Roofs in One Weekend!

New Kid on The Block - Week 4 - OFF THE RECORD

The Power in Showing Up

New Kid on The Block - Week 3 - Originality is Overrated

Living In The Tension of Serving

NeighborLink Network Retreat - We all Need Community

New Kid on The Block - Week 2 - "Decent"

New Kid on the Block - Week 1 Recap

Great American Cleanup Was a Success!

NeighborLink Fort Wayne & The Great American Cleanup

Cornerstone Landscape Group Serves NeighborLink Recipients

Northeast Fort Wayne Service Days Announced

NLFW Wants to Partner With Contractors

NeighborLink Fort Wayne Launches Crowdfunding Tool

Team NeighborLink & Fort 4 Fitness Spring Cycle

Longing For More Workers - Reflections on the Harvest