Monday, May 3, 2010

Friendship on the Doorstep

It took me 18 months to get to know my neighbor

One Friday we were packing to leave for a weekend away when my daughter heard cries for help. When I went to investigate I discovered an elderly neighbor we barely knew had taken a bad fall on her front steps. She was clearly in pain, so I helped her inside her house and settled her on the couch.

I noticed how cramped and dark her place was and it was obvious she hadn’t cleaned in a while. She insisted she didn’t need an ambulance or medical help and that someone would be around soon, so I left her with a bottle of water at her side.

As I left, I felt saddened to realize that apart from a few smiles in the past 18 months we had been neighbours, we hadn’t connected. She didn’t know my name and I didn’t know hers and I hadn’t even noticed she hadn’t been outside for weeks due to bad sciatica.

That weekend I met my grand-mother for her 80th birthday and noticed how clean ad spacious her flat seemed in comparison to my neighbor’s. Then my thoughts turned to all the visitors—daughters, grandkids nieces and nephews—my grandmother had, and how lively the atmosphere was. My neighbour, as far as I knew, had no family regularly dropping by to visit.

When I returned home, I went to check on her but she didn’t answer my knocks. Trying the back door and finding it open, I walked inside. More grateful than startled to see me, she explained she was OK. Yet, unable to bend down due to her bad back, she could not unpack groceries a delivery boy had left at floor level. Her kitchen was filling with garbage she was unable to take out by herself.

We’ve since become good friends and chat every other day. She keeps thanking me for my kindness but I enjoy helping her. I had been so busy that I was missing a wonderful chance to connect with another person in my community.

Now, every time I return from putting out her garbage collecting her mail or just chatting I feel a deep sense of satisfaction and peace. At 76, I’m sure she’s done more than her fair share of helping others through life. ~Lyndal Edwards (RD, Apr 2010, p.33-34)

The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." ~Galatians 5:14

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