By Abe Villarreal

We live in the most connected time in history. In an instant, we can find out what is happening almost anywhere in the world. But do we know each other, as people, now more than ever?

The relationships that matter most, the ones that change our lives, are those that we create in the community in which we live. Our neighbors and work friends can make a difference when we need them. But do we really know who these people are or what they mean to us?

I confess that I don’t know the names of my immediate neighbors. Wouldn’t it be nice if I took the time to stop by and say hello? I might need them in the future. They may need me.

In the meantime, get to know your community in these simple ways:

Knock on a door. Sure, it’s a political year, but knocking on doors in 2020 can mean more than asking for someone’s vote. You can do it just because you want to know who lives in your neighborhood. Your neighbors will be there when you need someone to watch your home or check your mail but only if you get to know them.

Serve a meal. Those most in need are not hiding in the shadows. They walk our streets and get treated in our hospitals. Take a moment this year to volunteer at the local Gospel Mission or volunteer center. It will be eye opening.

Hold a hand. Grant County is home to more than one nursing home, which means that there are plenty of people living here who can benefit from a smiling face or the touch of a warm hand. You don’t need to make an appointment. Drop by the Silver City Care Center on a Saturday afternoon. The residents will appreciate the company.

Say Thank You. We don’t say these words enough. Read the Letters to The Editor section of any newspaper. It’s the complainers who are filled with motivation. Write a small note to your barber or florist. Send a text if that’s what you prefer. Let those serving your community know that they are appreciated.

Pay a visit. There are more than 50 inmates at the Grant County Detention Center.
Within a year, most of them will be back in their homes. Shopping in your grocery store and eating at your favorite restaurants. They’ll be our neighbors once again. Check with your church and get plugged in with a jail ministry.

In 2020, connect with someone you can see and touch in real life, not just through your computer screen. I look forward to meeting you.
Abe Villarreal writes about life and culture in southern New Mexico. He can be reached at abevillarreal@hotmail.com.