As I sit in a park in Indiana, I watch my elderly neighbor struggle with the cold and ice. It’s sunny today, but at 1:00pm, we are not above freezing as of yet. His 20+ year old grandchildren have come and gone, yet, his laundry is still stacked to the ceiling, and like the rest of us, there still is no water to be stored. Could they not have brought him any?
His children popped in last night. They didn’t bring any either. I helped him collect some Thursday evening. It doesn’t make me a hero – it makes me a neighbor.
I recall the days my father or mother would receive a phone call and the next thing they would say was, “Put your shoes on. We’re going to (fill in the blank) house.” There was something that needed addressed and they needed help.
In the early 60s, there was a man named Ray Lewis. I’m sure he’s long gone, but Mr. Lewis had heart surgery. Back then, that was almost a death sentence. He and his family also had a commercial chicken farm. For two weeks after work, my father gathered us up and collected eggs, graded them, did something else to them, and we’d then go home. At first, there were several people sharing the responsibility from the church, but finally it continued to dwindle until it was just Dad and someone else. They stuck it out until Mr. Lewis could take on the responsibility again. We were not related to the Lewis family. We were just neighbors.
I’m not saying that this behavior hasn’t been around since the dawn of time, but it certainly multiplies in leaps and bounds with each coming year.
What does it cost us to individually think outside the box for two minutes and assist another person? What would it have cost those children to throw a couple of water jugs in the truck for grandpa?
People do not have to know someone, be related to someone, or even know their name to lend a hand for two minutes. Where have we let that gift go? And why do we believe that it’s now acceptable?