Friday, March 16, 2007

through our fingers

Hopefully I am not portraying my wife and I as having achieved “perfection” within a neighborhood type secret agent ministry. Sometimes, our thumb is slightly off the pulse of this undisclosed location we call home.

It hurt our hearts deeply to learn recently of life changing news within the lives of two neighbors on our street.

First we learned that an elderly neighbor way down the street, JB, died...back in September!

September? December, maybe. But September?
Come on CEO. Where were we?! Agent Wife developed a mild relationship with the elderly, wheelchair bound JB on and off for about a year or so. We must have talked to him right before he died. I remember it being a Sunday morning in late August or early September on the sidewalk in front of his house.

We just assumed we haven’t seen JB in months because of the winter. The elderly don’t leave their houses much in the winter and you won’t see them unless you knock on their door.

Second, Agent Wife learned that Mrs. Smith, from three doors down, fell and broke her hip last November. Her children have since put her in a care home.

Again, we just assumed she was hiding from the cold.

Admittedly, we never had any real deep relationship with these two neighbors, unlike the friendship we have with Obi-Wan and others. JB lived with his wife, son, and grandson. Mrs. Smith lived alone, but several of her children live nearby. So both of these neighbors were not lonely like Obi-Wan.

But how can someone on our street die and we not even know it?!? Or how could someone’s living situation change drastically and we not know? She was only three houses down!

Man. It kind of makes us feel like we’ve been sleeping on the job or something.


Anonymous said...

Count it a learning experience. ANd then learn from it. That is a way to make use of the error -at least.

I know what you mean too. I have similar issue. Similar in dynamic, but not in degree.

About 3 weeks ago, I met a family getting evicted while on my way to a prayer service (can't remember if I blogged it) and through tht prayer service raised $150 to help them get into the new place that night. The woman found another $100 to go with it from another source all after we prayed on it.

Then I made the bold move and asked who wanted to go to church with me the next morning. She said there would be 5 going. She gave me directions to the new place, but when I showed up, no one answered the door.

I went back the next Sunday and still no answer.

This week I went to the county jail to visit Eleanor. Among the concerns my crack smoking jail-bird friend had for me was this question: "Why haven't you gone to get those kids? The been wonderin' when you comin'"

After much discussion I figure out that my white, middle-class mindset had me visualizing a bunch of kids dressed and ready to go when I got there. But Eleanor tells me I need to ring the bell a bunch, bang on the door and windows to WAKE them all up! It was a natural no brainer for her, but I had to unlearn a lot of socialization to get there.

Granted, it is not as bad as folks you wanted to love on dying and not noticing for months on end, but it is like it in that it challenges my simple assumptions that prove to be so costly.

Loving people is work. It will cost you time and money. And will surprise you every day with what it takes.

Your post shows you are not infalible. And fortunately, God does not require that of you. ANd I am in good company.

Thanx for sharing.

Agent X

Tangerinetinselbreeze said...

You cannot be everywhere, nor can you be all things to all people. Painfully revealing is the walk at times, but my two cents rubbed together would speak that JB was not alone. JB as He passed was with the Maker. There is the dimension that we cannot see, the love that you and your wife began was completed and magnified. It is only on this side that it hurts. AS far as your neighbor, just love her now, be available as you are able. We used to invite neighbors to dinner in Cali when we were there. We have lived on this block for years and utterly failed in that. We have some good excuses, but will make plans to move forward in loving our neighbors, thanks for the post. Hey, it is not just aout what you didn't do- we can all be more responsible to our community posts.