Unfamiliar Strangers

Unfamiliar Strangers

By Rhoda Klein Miller

Its 1am and all fire alarm bells within three floors of hallways are ringing.  I pull myself out of bed while my husband insists he’ll remain under the covers “to keep the dog calm”.  Slipping into a coat and flip flops I walk from one end of my building to the other, down a staircase and double back on the floor below sniffing for smoke and touching doors for heat. Other neighbours begin to emerge pajama-clad, tousled hair, some clutching purses, children or pets.  We spill out onto the front sidewalk and soon hear the siren  then rumble of the approaching fire truck. Three men disembark and casually lumber up the courtyard stairs to main entrance where the fire panel is frantically flashing and beeping.  I recognize only one person in the crowd, a former co-worker.  “We’re seeing each other at our best” she jokes. Standing patiently with the sleepy-eyed and silent group I’m struck by how many unfamiliar strangers live in such close proximity to me.  The ringing bells suddenly stop and the firemen signal all is clear with a beckoning gesture.  Many share a word of thanks to them as they depart and we head inside. I sense the Spirit’s prompting to commit to being a better neighbour. Why not start now? I fight my introverted awkwardness as I hold the door open for fellow residents, locking eyes and uttering “I’m glad your safe, good night”.  The Bible encourages us to seek the good of others (1 Cor 10:24). How will you do that today?

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