The Neighbor – Molly
The words Neighbor and Friend occupy my thoughts. The call to love others as self rings heavy in my ears.
Whether we want them to or not: Our lives touch. Our colors bleed together. I wonder who I am as the neighbor – the one that is helped and the one
helping that should be helping.
My precious friend Molly has started a new blog – All the Grace Between. Her words and my own recounting of the way that her life has touched mine has peeled back fog in my mind. It’s enabled me to recall Rough days and the beginning of a friendship.
Those who worry about the loss of time entailed by such small, external acts of helpfulness are usually taking their own work too seriously. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Isn’t God’s work, His painting, the more important task? Aren’t my own plans just filler – while I’m “on call” for Him? Who knows that His plan for my day might involve a waitress, a therapist, a cashier? I want to live my eyes wide open.
Molly was living her life with eyes open when she stepped into my life.
In 2005, my house didn’t feel like a suburban home. It felt like a bomb-shelter during a raid, rattled by the hour, dust and debris creeping in, oxygen being cut off. I rarely showered and sleep was sparse. My husband had to be gone for several months and I was a something like a shut-in that HAD to travel. I could not go to our stop sign without B’s non-stop horrific screams (from balance issues). This screaming in the car-seat was so constant that it amounted to blood tinged spit-up all over the linoleum tiles of the drugstore/grocery store/you name it. My son had 13 specialists 2 hours away and we were just beginning to make heads/tales of what the jaundice had done to him. I breast-fed/bottle-fed/pumped/tube fed and spent my days on the phone with our insurance company. At night myoclonic jerks (like the kind of jerk’s you’d have just before you fell asleep at your desk at school) woke my precious baby 17 times per hour, on average. My nights – I slept an hour or 2 at a time and held him the rest. SERIOUS hours were logged with Netflix. I forgot what a mirror looked like. Life was about surviving. But…
I was NOT alone. I was NEVER alone. I look back at these times and I hardly know how I put one foot in front of the other, except for precious words whispered over and over to my heart. These were words I’d sung in college. I heard them now.):
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
In these days, as my mother in-law so aptly put, people stepped into my life “that were HIS hands.”
(I have to note – when she said this, I didn’t take it so well. She was seeing things eternal and finding joy. I was here on earth, wanting loads of empathy rather than joy. Yes – my attitude often stinks. Now her words continue to do me good. Words that fell short one day were waiting for me with open arms the next – full of comfort.)
In these dark days, several people came in at just the right moments. One such friend was Molly. I still can hardly imagine how I made new friends at the time. Molly was newly married and she and her husband were both in the military. We almost never saw them together. Their work and travel often clashed. Molly was in her early 20’s busy being a helicopter pilot, with a brand-new marriage. Cute clothes, people magazine, high heels – these were all a part of her life. This girl not only said hello and acted interested at church. Molly came into my HOME. She scaled walls of awkward to hold my babe, feeding tubes and all. And in this time of necessity, she…
Tears come to my eyes as I remember her holding my baby in the back seat to make the 2 hour drive to the specialists…giving all to help me make it one insane mile after the next.
The day before my husband left she held my babe while John and I built our fence. (Strange…I know, but when you live on lock-down, building a fence together can be better than a date…I promise!)
On a day when she badly needed someone to talk to, and I hadn’t left the house in a week or so….she let me cut her off and run to the store to get groceries or to roam Target mindlessly…I can’t remember which. I very badly wished she could be with me, but I felt like I was going to explode if I didn’t get fresh air. Molly stayed at my house that night, holding my precious B and served me. Keep in mind that this was in the midst of the things that she’s writing about now on her blog, hard things that anyone would
want need to talk about. (Perhaps He whispered to her heart in the silence of my home, as she served me Him?)
Self aside, she met a need. These acts of love weren’t convenient or easy…but we both were all the better for it! She got up close and personal and God used it to give perspective for her own hard times, and he blessed me with a friend close to my heart!
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” –Mark 12:29-31
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily.. –Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“The greatest among you will be your servant.” – Matthew 23:11
Who will He put in your life, my life, today to serve? How will he paint this portion? Our family members are our neighbors too. While I deal with kids that have already had such a rough day that I put them back to bed…I pray that I will see things eternal today.