ROSE NOLEN: Being a kind neighbor helps pay the dues for living on this planet

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:24 a.m. CDT, Thursday, April 24, 2014

Most of my life, I was fortunate to grow up in a close community. Usually, I felt warm and comfortable.

People were kind and treated me well. If I ran into problems, they gathered around me and helped me straighten things out.

A couple of times, I made the mistake of moving out of the community. I wound up living among people who preferred to live alone. They were not friendly, and they were not helpful.

Living outside of a community is like night and day. You have to worry about everything. You are completely on your own.

If someone breaks into your house, you’re left alone to fight them off. If they steal your car, it’s up to you to get it back. Nobody cares if you’re sick or well. You’re absolutely on your own.

I hate living outside of community. I’m used to living on my own, but I don’t like the feeling like I’m in the world all by myself.

I like speaking to people when I see them on the street. I enjoy watching children play in their yards. I like seeing my neighbors embrace when they encounter one another on the sidewalk. I want to bring the woman next door a loaf of bread from the store.

Those are the things that it means to be human as far as I’m concerned. When the news carrier mistakenly throws my neighbor’s newspaper into my yard, I want to take it next door.

It's what people call doing the least you can do for somebody else. I consider it the price I pay for sharing the planet.

Certainly, there are people in the world I don’t want to live with. These are the kind of people who drink out of your water glass.

But this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t call the Fire Department if their house was on fire. Being a good neighbor doesn’t mean that you want to share your home. It just means that they have the right to exist in the same world as you.

People who don’t want to be in the same world with other people have a problem of their own. They feel uncomfortable being with other people. They don’t want to be around them.

I love living in community with people. They make me feel good about the world, and they make me feel happy to be a part of it. They make me glad.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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