I typically spend my day off doing exciting things like mowing the lawn and catching up on laundry. But I am not complaining! After preaching three times on Sunday and teaching an adult class, I am ready for some reprieve. I thoroughly enjoy the solitude that yard-work and laundry afford.
Yesterday was different. The preceding Sunday had been a hard one. On that Sunday I commemorated the line of duty shooting death of one of the deputies I served along with dozens of friends in our community. For whatever reason the two year anniversary of that event was especially difficult.
While I was mowing behind my fence near the creek one of my neighbors sneaked up behind me. He asked me to walk across the creek and come look at the new gazebo he just built. As I admired his handiwork, he brought me an ice cold bottle of water. We chatted about all kinds of things. I took note of what my yard COULD look with a little more tender loving care.
I finally trudged back to my mower and finished the job feeling quite refreshed. And it occurred to me that the simplest gestures of kindness are sometimes the best. My neighbor is a positive, kind-hearted, and generous individual. He is also a Vietnam veteran. He went to Vietnam during the peak of American involvement over there. The challenges he faces every day that stem from that experience have caused him to be even more compassionate. And…he willingly and eagerly listens to me preach every Sunday.
His simple gesture of hospitality yesterday inspired me to try harder. I am going to be more alert. I am going to pay better attention to the person who may very well need a kind word or a listening ear. I am going to do better at initiating dialogues with people that are facing all kinds of challenges in their life. And I also need to be better about keeping cold water chilled during the summer.
A creek runs through it…our neighborhood that is. But it is by no mean a chasm that separates us. The life giving water that flows through it is a symbol of the sustenance that true neighbors provide for each other.