He had only been home from work a few minutes.
“Where are you going?”
“The garbage trucks came by two days ago, but Kay’s trashcans are still on the curb.”
Jeff says this with a sense of urgency that I fail to understand.
“That’s nice, Honey, but could you bring them in for her after you help me get this boy into the bathtub?”
“Denise, she has M.S., remember? Maybe the cans are still out there because she’s having one of those spells. Maybe she needs help.”
I feel silly. Here I am, the person who is in this house every minute of every day, yet I am not the one who notices our neighbor’s trashcans still sitting on the street.
Jeff knocks on her door.
After a few minutes of no response, I assume she’s not home – even though her car is in the driveway.
“Come on, Jeff. Let’s get her cans for her and go home.”
But Jeff insists on giving Kay more time.
“She has to move slowly,” he says, “so we have to give her extra time to answer the door.”
I realize he’s right. Again.
A moment later, Kay opens her door. She looks tired, but she assures us that she’s fine. She’s just having a rough couple of days, physically speaking. We exchange numbers, though, so she can call us if she ever needs anything.
This happened more than five years ago. Everything was okay, but I learned an important lesson. We have a responsibility to our neighbor, in a real and tangible sense. And Jeff was much more attuned to this need than I was.
God calls His people to care for widows and orphans.
Over the years, I have observed Jeff, on more than one occasion, caring for widows and orphans. Because Jeff is an orphan himself, he has an expanded heart for those who have lost someone through death. Kay is a widow in her mid-fifties. She lives alone, and she lives with Multiple Sclerosis.
Through my husband, God has opened my eyes to see needs around me that I previously couldn’t see.
This past Sunday night, our doorbell rang. Kay brought over a large bag of candy and asked us to pass it out to trick-or-treaters. She doesn’t have the strength to get up and answer the door every few minutes when more kids come by, but she wanted to participate in the neighborhood’s festivities in some way.
So on Halloween night, she kept her porch light on, and she posted a sign on her door that directed foot-traffic to our house, where we dispersed candy from two different bowls: hers and ours.
It was such a small thing. But it made me smile.
Our relationship with our neighbor is due to my husband noticing something everyone on our cul-de-sac, including myself, missed. But Jeff realized its larger significance. And he took the time to care.