Monday, October 26, 2009


Have you ever learned a profound lesson from a six year old? I have, just today as we were driving home from church. Joel said, "Hey Mom and Dad, our neighbors aren't just next door."

This got me to thinking...  who are our neighbors?  If they are more than just next door, where are they?

I believe that our neighbors are more than just our friends or the people sharing our real estate. Our neighbors are also people we may not know very well, and still, for whatever reason, they are in our lives.
Our mailman and I have had a run-in (or two or three) about my dogs and their bark. They sound like they want to rip his legs off when he gets close to our mailbox, and it kind of frightens/annoys him. (They really want to lick his face until he can't stand it anymore and are so happy that someone is here for them to visit with- True, they sound fierce, but in actuality, they are so dumbe they wouldn't even know how! -I know it, the dogs know it, but funny, the mailman doesn't know it...)

Because the mailman seemed a little gruff at times, I found it difficult to be neighborly. I wouldn't always wave when I saw him on his route. Infact, I would sometimes look the other way when I would see him coming. I would even grumble about what a grump he was. (Hypocritical? yep.)

The thing is though, that I found out the mailman, (who incidentally, lives down the street, my street.) is married to a lady named Mary. I know of Mary. She is a really sweet lady that takes in all the stray and starving animals and nurtures them back to health, then finds them a good home. She can make a beautiful garden not just grow, but actually flourish, in this Gosh-forsaken desert. She is known for creating beauty wherever she goes and with whatever she touches.

Mary has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The cancer has spread throughout her body and because she is too weak to have surgery, she is living out her last days here on this Earth the best she can. Due to this, I have noticed that the mailman takes frequent breaks from his duties to take Mary on short walks.

As I saw them the other day, walking slowly and holding hands, I felt ashamed of how I held a grudge about the way he lit into me regarding my dumbo dogs. I realized that I don't know the battles he faces everyday and I have absolutely no right to judge. I am not fully aware of the hurdles he must jump over to just get through one more day. I am not slowly watching the love of my life suffer and slip away. If I were, I'd be grumpy too!

While he is bringing me my junk mail, he probably wants to be with Mary. I feel so humbled when I think that some of those minutes he spends away from her must be spent on our behalf to deliver our mail. I am so truly grateful not only for the service he provides, but at the cost.

He deserves a better neighbor and I'll be darned if I don't want to be the very best neighbor I can be to him. I want to smile a little warmer, I want to be a little more gracious, and I want to be a little more neighborly. So while we can't always control who are neighbors are, we can be the very best neighbor they've got.

I am so thankful for Joel's insightfulness. Without it I probably wouldn't have given my neighbors a thought today. But now, I will always remember and be grateful for this valuable lesson I have learned from my six-going-on-thirty-six-year-old, and my neighbor,
the mailman.


1 comment:

Daisy Paige said...

Popped over to see if there were any posts on your new brood and/or Gen Conf plans. Found this post instead and admire you so much, Hill. Thank Joel for me.