My dear next-door-neighbor and friend, Jean, passed away this week. She was 85 years old. We would often talk over the side-wall that runs between our homes. Sometimes we would sit and talk in her kitchen. She always had time for me.
Jean's passing has awakened the neighborhood. Suddenly the neighbors are talking with one another. Even tonight, the door bell rang. It was Tim, who lives across the street, bringing us directions to the service. My husband and 2 other neighbors have been asked to be pall bearers. Afterwards there will be a reception in Jean's backyard.
We have one home in the neighborhood who everyone complains about. The man who lives there doesn't keep his place up. He has a drinking problem. But he has known Jean since he was a young man. Jean has often told me about his history. She knew his parents, before they both passed away. She said they were quite irregular parents. Now Ben lives alone there, but not in the house. The house is a shell...because he started remodeling/rebuilding it and ran out of money. So now Ben, about age 65, lives in the little back house. Ben would also make his way over to Jean's from time to time to sit in her kitchen. The neighbors do not like Ben. They complain about him and call the city to come and make him clean up his property.
I was standing in the street with Jean's daughter, when she was telling Ben that her mother passed away. I could see the sadness on Ben's face and I heard myself inviting him to come ride with my husband and I to the memorial service. His face brightened and he thanked me heartily.
Yesterday when I saw Ben, he said, "God Bless You." Ben doesn't attend church, and he doesn't strike me as religious. But I have often prayed for him...as I have a son who is going through difficult times...like I'm sure Ben did, when he was young. But Ben fell through the cracks...somehow...perhaps no one to support and help him through the rough waters...and he ended up on the wrong path. Compassion. I feel compassion. Maybe I'm feeling God's compassion...not mine.
As various neighbors have found out that Ben is coming...and riding in our car, they stammer a bit and roll their eyes. Even my husband wasn't thrilled.
So tomorrow should be an interesting day. I feel its the Lord's day...his day to work in the neighborhood. I'll let you know how it goes.