The other day, my younger son was having a fit of rage. To calm him down, I made him take a walk with me. We walked to the end of my street and back. My street is a cul-de-sac. I don’t normally drive the part that we were walking. The fact that I don’t walk is another story. 😉
Anyway, we passed a house that is a few down from our house and I noticed that the yard looked pretty bad. I know that there is a lady that lives there and that her husband died a few years ago… possibly more years than I’m willing to acknowledge. Sadly, I did not know her name and have only talked to her twice since we moved here ten years ago. Once within a year of us moving here, she complained about my dog running around… the other, she complimented my flower bed as she was driving by. It was that time that she told me that she was a master gardener and that my yard “looked good.”
Having that conversation filed away in my brain, it was bothersome at how bad her yard looked. Something must be wrong… I am ashamed of myself for not recognizing sooner. This lady has lived three houses down for TEN years. I did not know her name… I knew that her husband had died, but never once checked on her… I was a poor neighbor and an even worse Christian.
I can think of some excuses as to my failure, but that’s all they are… excuses. I failed.
But, here is where the story turns… that night, I called my older son in my room. He has recently learned to cut grass and has been making money doing it. I told him that I saw a yard down the street that looked pretty bad and that the lady was a widow. “Son, the Bible teaches us to take care of widows.” Without a blink, “ok, mom, I’ll mow her grass.”
The next day, he wanted me to go with him because he was nervous that she may come out and yell at him or something. We didn’t know if she was home. We didn’t knock. He just started mowing. About the same time, my husband came home. I left him with my son because I had to run some errands. When I got back, all three of my guys were at her house. They were mowing, trimming trees and bushes, edging, and raking. (Mind you, the youngest wasn’t thrilled about it, but he was helping.)
The lady had come out of her house. She was out-of-sorts and kept telling them weird things, but she was over-joyed that they were there. I walked down to see their progress. I could not have been prouder of my husband and boys. I saw a need (that I should have seen long before), but they were the ones tackling it. I spoke with her and finally learned her name. She just kept saying “thank you.” She tried to shake my hand, but I hugged her instead. While I was hugging her, she just cried… I hugged tighter.
Later, I asked my son how he felt about what he did… his twelve-year-old response… “good.” How do I feel? Well, I swell up with pride at knowing that, while I fail every day, I may have done something right in this parenting thing.
I’ve also realized that in order to love thy neighbor, we have to know them first. We can’t just go through our daily routines, drive in our garages, and close the doors. We may have to get a little nervous and knock on a door and introduce ourselves. We may have to take a leap of faith. In turn, we may be blessed by the people who are the other side of those doors…
“Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.” 1 Timothy 5:3