My friend Nancy and I had managed to squeeze in a bit of Christmas shopping before both of us had to be at work. Finished with our spontaneous little spree, Nancy turned onto my street to drop me off. That’s when we spotted him.
A man in a bright orange coat, using a walker, was struggling to push his recycling cart from the curb to wherever he was that he kept it. In all the years I’d been driving past this particular house on the way to my own, I had never seen him.
But it seemed clear today that God had ordained an appointment.
Nancy saw him at the same time I did, but before I could suggest stopping to help him, she had already pulled her car into his driveway and was out her door.
Nancy’s a noticer, too.
WATCHING GOD AT WORK
There was no need for me to get out and overwhelm the man, so I just stayed back and experienced the joy of watching Nancy be Jesus.
The two of them chatted, and then eventually, Nancy began to roll the big bin down his driveway, the man following very, very slowly behind. Once it was in place, they talked some more, and then, quite abruptly, Nancy marched back up the driveway to her still open car door.
“Oh, he’s in bad shape, Pam. Very sick,” she said, as she reached into her purse to retrieve one of her business cards.
Then like a flash, she was back with him, offered him her card (along with what I imagine was a free haircut and grooming). They talked a bit more, said their good-byes, and Nancy was back at the wheel.
A NEIGHBOR IN NEED
Nancy told me as much as we could in the three blocks we had. The man was sick. Very sick. And had no family to speak of. He was alone.
He also needed a shelf hung—and someone had quoted him eighty-five dollars to do it.
I was confident we could do it much more reasonably than that.
And then some.
Author and theologian Frederick Buechner believes that Jesus’ point in telling the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) is so that his followers would know that their neighbor “is to be construed as meaning anybody who needs you.”
Interesting thought, isn’t it?
If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.
Since the time Nancy and I pulled into the man’s driveway, my husband has fixed his shelf and spent time with him and we’ve invited him to join Nancy and us at our church that meets just a few blocks from his house in the neighborhood elementary school.
But would any of this have happened if we hadn’t seen him in the first place?
Because Nancy chose to notice and stop, to interrupt her day and busy schedule, to be kind, listen, ask questions, and just share a simple conversation in a driveway on a chilly winter day, we now have a connection and a relationship and are praying about all that God will want to continue to do.
~ Pamela Klein, Editor of Walk the Way Blog