Love your neighbor.

Reflections With Robert - Revolutionary - August 31, 2020

08-31-2020

“The most revolutionary thing you can do is get to know your neighbors.”  

Karl Hess

I’ve come to grips with a fundamental truth: 

Our comfort zones are not as safe or beneficial as we’d like to imagine. While there is supreme value to be found in close-knit communities and friendships with deep roots, I have come to see how detrimental to self and society comfort zone living can actually be.

On the way to my children’s school is a sight that leaves me perplexed and saddened each time we pass it by. Without going into detail, it’s safe to say that an all-out political and cultural clash has been raging between two next door neighbors for quite some time. Both, from what I can tell, are as far from each other on the political spectrum as they could possibly be. Both wear their ideologies on their sleeves (or in this case, their front porches). Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched as exterior decorations on both houses have progressively become more elaborate, with most banners, flags, and placards facing not toward the street but the opposing house. From the outside looking in, it’s like both are in a contest to one-up the other and prove how loyal they are toward the causes which speak loudest to their hearts. 

Each time I pass that war-zone, I wonder about the narrow patch of grass that serves as a median between both houses. Has it ever become a demilitarized zone, if only for a moment? Has it ever played host to a friendly conversation or barbecue? Somehow, I doubt it. Instead, I envision both houses as heavily-defended fortresses with names like Comfort Zone 1 and Comfort Zone 2. High upon their ramparts, no flags of truce are ever flown. Proudly hanging from their walls are torn and tattered flags; each rip, burn, and bullet-hole serves as a reminder of a war they have been fighting to no end. Each day I pass those houses, I wonder what would happen if those comfort zones were breached with a revolutionary act of love or kindness.

On the other side of town, across from my own house, lives a multi-generational family. There is a child, a mother, and a grandmother. All throughout the day, the grandmother can be seen outside on the porch; it’s there that she enjoys the peace and quiet of retirement. She’s never quite sure what the day will bring, but that doesn’t usually phase her. She’s always up for a smile, a wave, or a “Hello!” sent across the street to us and other neighbors. In fact, she is outside so often that she was the very first person to welcome us to the neighborhood when we moved in last March. Over the past few months, we have enjoyed the neighborly relationship that has formed between our two families with time, effort, and patience. 

As far as we can tell, we don't really share too many similarities with the family across the street; but that is no excuse to cloister ourselves behind the walls of our own fortress, no matter how comfortable such neighboring would appear. Occasionally, we’ll cross the street to talk or to exchange food or other things. Back in June, my wife prepared a meal with them in mind. It was their first experience with Filipino food. Serving them brought as much joy to us as eating it did for them, I’d like to believe. There have been other times since then when food or snacks were given or exchanged. Each time it was unplanned and somewhat spur-of-the-moment. For myself, the desire is usually triggered when I see them outside while I’m carrying something in from the car. It’s then that I realize an opportunity for revolutionary love and kindness has presented itself. For that's what love and kindness really are: revolutionary ideas that drastically shift and change the landscapes where they land.

Last week, I ran home to bring my wife a drink from Starbucks. Right next to her drink, in the car cupholder, was my own untouched cup of coffee. As soon as I saw the retired matriarch of the house across the street sitting there on her porch, I knew a moment for revolutionary kindness had just presented itself. Carefully, I crossed the street, gave her the extra cup of coffee, and struck up a conversation that lasted a good five minutes or so. Toward the end of the conversation, I felt the walls of my comfort zone collapse and retreat, for the cry of “Revolution!” had suddenly reared its head. Denying it would do no good at all. 

The words that came from my heart were honest, yet ones I never would have dared to utter a few months ago: “I just wanted you to know how much you mean to my family," I said while looking her straight in the eyes. "You were the first person to welcome us to the neighborhood and that has always meant something special to us.” 

The look on her face was an absolute treasure. As soon as I saw it, I wondered why I had spent so many years building such enormous walls around my own comfort zone. “Thank you so much!” she joyfully replied. Her eyes sparkled; I understood the delight that hung from each word because I felt it, too. “You can come by and talk any time. I’m always here!”

Instantly, my thoughts were transported to the dueling houses near my kids’ school. I wondered what the landscape would look like if a moment such as this had ever taken place; if a truly revolutionary step of love or kindness had ever taken place before their battle lines had been drawn. What if a meal had been shared or a coffee given with no strings attached? I doubt it would take long for those walls, as high as they have been built throughout the years, to come crashing down in a thick cloud of dust. Still, I know how hard it is to take that first vulnerable step. I've done it and it was not easy. By instinct, we tell ourselves to hold fast; that the first to crumble and give in is also the weakest and the loser. Therefore, we hold out for as long as possible, digging trenches, raising towers, and defending our comfort zones for fear of losing ground to the enemy who is so unlike ourselves (but are they, really?). In time, the battle lines we form become so prominent that even outsiders see the marks they've left behind.

But revolutionary love and kindness also leave their marks. They've left their marks on nations, religions, cities, and people, too. They've left marks on me. I'm sure they've left marks on you. I can't help but believe these revolutionary ideas and actions called love and kindness can help shape, mold, and shift neighborhoods into communities we'd all rather live in. You know, ones without the need for so many comfort zones disguised as castles.

Latest News

Complex: ADAPTATIONS

Complex: SOLUTIONS

Complex: SITUATIONS

Complex: CONNECTIONS

Complex: EXPRESSIONS

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