After church on Sabbath I was taking my time getting home. For once I wasn’t in a hurry. After pulling into my spot in the alley behind our house I unloaded my guitar and headed for the trunk. On my way a neighbor lady greeted me from her tiny, two person sized, second story deck 20 yards away. I asked how she was doing which can a powerful question when take the time to listen. I had no idea how much time the answer would take.
She started to open her heart about her painful struggle with losing three family members within a short time. As we were having this sensitive conversation long distance her neighbor’s dog on the adjacent deck was barking away and interfering with our communication. This turned into a blessing. She invited me to meet her in the front of her house to continue the conversation. I put my guitar back in the cab, went around the corner and stepped onto her porch where she invited me to take a seat.
She handed me a funeral bulletin and pointed to a for sale sign in her front lawn telling me she’d had enough and was moving to Harrisburg after living in the home for fifty-some years. Her whole life. She shared the sad events weighing on her heart but would also intersperse praise to God frequently for how He showed up in it all. In February her big brother, the family leader, collapsed dead in the snow between his house and his ride on the way to a check up after a recent fall. On the day of his funeral, while the procession was lining up in front of her house, her son’s grandpa died. A couple days after her brother’s service a cousin or uncle had a stroke and died. She tried to hold back the tears but the two month old would was still fresh to her heart.
Though she kept praising God for His goodness, she says she’s ready to go. I can understand wanting a new start after so much pain in one place. But she didn’t just leave it there. She let me know how grateful she was for our group living in the community because for years she had felt she was praying for the neighborhood alone. She said we are pillars in the community and that as she goes she’s passing the baton to us. We can continue to the race.
We exchanged names and numbers and prayed and I invited her to come to a home Bible study/evangelistic series we’re holding in May. She lit up and said she would bring her grand kids and attend with them. She invited me in to give me some popsicles for my daughter and introduce me to her boyfriend before I headed home.
What stuck out to me the most from the encounter was that people are watching us. She had seen us caroling and praying with neighbors and it made a difference for her. She felt she had an ally across the ally even though we didn’t know each other personally.
Pray for your neighbors, smile at everyone, and when you get the opportunity, ask how they’re doing. Who knows what opportunities it will open up.
While your at it, please say a prayer for Karen and my neighborhood.
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