My neighbor is awesome…we haven’t officially met yet, but she’s already awesome from what I know. She must be about 75 years old and walks everyday all over our town in Ashaway, RI. I see her almost every morning when I drop my oldest at school. If its’ clear and anything above 40 degrees, there she is.
She lives right next to the little red house, and must walk a few miles daily, making her way through the streets of Ashaway. She is the cutest too! She has these big rounded, clear glasses and wears a hand knitted hat, gloves, a warm winter coat over a nightgown or mu mu that dances around her calves as she walks, with athletic pants and orthopedic sneakers, while carrying a grocery store plastic bag on her journey. I can only hope I have this much energy and dedication to staying active when I reach her age. I think its’ amazing.
You might be wondering what she does with this bag I mentioned. Yes? This is the awesome part: She picks up trash and weeds growing in the cracks of the sidewalk. She spends miles of walking cleaning the town! When I see her, I can’t help but wonder about her…her life…her story. Has she always lived next door to the little red house? Did she grow up there? Did she raise a family there? Does she spend her walks picking up weeds and trash because its’ something to do on her journey or does she have such a pride for the community in which she lives, and this is her way of doing her part…her contribution to the town? Does she enjoy her walks or is it a necessity…a compulsion maybe? Does she have a hatred for weeds? I don’t know…I could go on and on wondering about this woman!
Once my mom was bringing Jaxon to school and saw her up ahead on the sidewalk…face down!! My mom was terrified, but couldn’t figure out why car after car just passed this woman by who clearly needed help! I mean there was an elderly woman face down, practically in the road! She discovered the reason, when she got a little closer, fully prepared to pull over and dial 911. But, then, she didn’t…she joined the traffic just passing her by! Why you ask? Turns out my lovely neighbor was on her belly, meticulously pulling some stubborn weeds out from where the road meets the sidewalk! That’s dedication!
Sometimes when she’s getting close to her way back home and I happen to be at the red house, I think I should stop her, introduce myself…get the neighborly thing going. But, of course, I chicken out and settle for a friendly wave. (CHICKEN!!!)…I did it today actually, as she picked up trash at the end of my driveway! 😦
We figured out what she did with the trash once her bag was full and the expedition was over. One day Josh was working at the red house and noticed a figure traveling up the driveway toward our dumpster. Josh poked his head out the back door to greet the visitor. “Hi there!,” he called from the dirt pile that translates to our back door entry, as she was lobbing her bag of trash up into the dumpster.
He said she nearly jumped right out of her glasses and shrieked, “aaaahhhh!” Poor thing… Josh scared her nearly to death! I don’t know if she was just startled or frightened of a strange, sweaty man with a durag on his head and tattoo’s up his arms calling to her. The latter sounds scarier to me! 😉 (Just kidding…Sorry, babe!)
When we FINALLY got our contract ended with our original contractor on our little red house renovation (Rouben Balagian with buildPros), he removed the dumpster as his last “finishing touch” on the job he never did.
What was she to do with her bag now that our dumpster was gone? A problem needing a solution! So plan B was devised for “operation pick up”.
Yup…you guessed it! She hung her bag of trash and weeds on the post at the end of our driveway since there was no dumpster to aid with the disposal! 🙂 I laughed so hard when I was driving past and saw it! I thought it was great!! “Community in Christ is the aim!” So, I will gladly help you, dear neighbor, on your quest of cleaning up our town! (I got the easy end of the deal though!) Examining the best tools I have in doing my part in living out that small town feel always leads me back to Him…
Ephesians 5:21 tells us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Throughout the bible, it is clear how important it is to live life in community with others. The “one another” guides show up 100 times in the new testament!!!
Here are just a few!!:
- Be at peace with one another (Mk 9:50)
- Don’t grumble among one another (Jn 6:43)
- Accept one another (Ro 15:7)
- Don’t boastfully challenge or envy one another (Ga 5:26).
- Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ep 4:2)
- Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Ep 4:32)
- Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 Th 5:15)
- Don’t complain against one another (Jas 4:11, 5:9)
- Love one another (Jn 13:34, 15:12, 17; Ro 13:8; 1 Th 3:12, 4:9; 1 Pe 1:22; 1 Jn 3:11, 4:7, 11; 2 Jn 5)
- Through love, serve one another (Ga 5:13)
So, I’m trying…I should probably try a little harder and actually say “hello” and get over my crazy insecurities. And I will…I promise! I know it’s impossible to follow Jesus without living in community with others. We all contribute to the body of Christ. Each of us a small part of the major function of doing God’s work, of knowing God’s purpose, of seeing God’s love up close. All of which is perfectly constructed in the way in which we do life together, serve one another, and are available to take some trash on if need be. 😉
Romans 12:4-5 “For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
Til’ next time, be blessed!!
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