Monday, December 28, 2009
Do Unto Others
The BIBLE says we are to do unto others as we would have others do unto us! And as ye have done to the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Twenty-five years ago, in the fall and winter of 1984, I lived in Corona (Queens), New York. I was married and had a baby. The marriage was not good. The husband was rarely home (he was working, he said), leaving me alone with the baby in that horrible apartment in the basement of a house with no phone, no car, no money, no friends. The entrance to the apartment was thru a "cellar door" at the bottom of crumbling cement stairs. Shortly after we moved into the dungeon I decided that I could not stay in this dark, depressing, dingy basement day after day and I ventured out with the baby in a stroller. We would walk, at first, just around the block - then two blocks, then three. One day we happened across a small storefront - a deli. It was chilly & I basically stopped there to warm up a bit. The store owner, Lola, was a friendly black lady who welcomed me into her shop & gave me a bit of a break - playing with the baby, rocking the baby, and talking to me. She fed me, never asking for payment as she knew I had no money - but would say, "Honey, don't you worry about it, just bring me some money when you get it." Walking to Miss Lola's deli became a daily routine. We got to know each other - mostly she got to know me as I was always whining about being "deserted" and "neglected". Once it began snowing my visits to Miss Lola's shop became few & far between. I missed being able to talk with her. One afternoon, late in the day - two weeks before Christmas - there was a knock on my door. I opened the door to an older black gentleman who resembled Morgan Freeman, dressed in a black three-piece suit, complete with hat - holding a large box filled with groceries. He told me that Miss Lola told him she thought I could use it! I was, needless to say, reduced to tears! I was overwhelmed by the kindness of people I barely knew. Two weeks later the baby & I were on a plane back to the midwest.
I tell you all that to tell you this.
We have a friend, Hal, who helped get our woodstove up & running. By most people's standards, has nothing. He is building a yurt-type home from recycled & reclaimed lumber, trees he's cut & hand-peeled himself, rock he's collected & stacked for a chimney. He has been living in a stripped down RV, heating it with a woodstove, bathing in the creek. He doesn't have a driver's license so he is dependent on others to pick him up to go places. By now the creek is frozen - no more baths. He's moved into the unfinished home he's built - the small woodstove can barely keep it warm (he said he woke up a couple mornings to 25 degrees inside!). His pantry doesn't seem to have much in it; his dog was so thin I could see her ribs. I told Jerry about my experience in New York and we decided that we would repay the kindness I had received by extending the same kindness to Hal. We have given him leftover building materials that were taking up space in our storage unit, brought him gas for his generator, shared food from our own pantry and bought his dog a couple bags of dogfood. He is so grateful for what he has - which is not much - and believes that everything he does have is a blessing from God.
Being able to bless him with our abundance has blessed us tremendously. Hal was the recipient of our Christmas giving this year! We are fortunate to know him & have learned so much from him. We pray that God will richly bless him in the New Year.