Love your neighbor.

And this is why we do this......

10-07-2014

I can't seem to get one of the last projects that I did with my wonderful husband out of my mind....it was a job that was easy enough although it did take several hours, but it is not the job that I can't shake loose, it was the people that we served. What a lovely couple and more so what a warm visit we had with them, that is what I cannot get out of my mind--perhaps I am to share it with you. While we were working, we noticed that the man of the house seemed to be a bit quiet but thought maybe he was just shy. We finished our job and he helped my husband put a ladder away that we had borrowed, still remaining somewhat quiet. When I went inside, after finishing some clean up outside, I noticed that my husband was no where to be found and so I asked the woman of the home where he was. She said that her husband had taken him downstairs to see his office that was very special to him and added, "It is one of the few things that he remembers anymore to talk about." I knew then that the man of the house must have Alzheimer's, he quietness now made sense. She asked if I would like to go see it and I of course went down to his office where a room full of beautiful model airplanes had been carefully and meticulously put together and displayed, I had never seen so many in one place so well done--all done by the man. This room was a room full of memorabilia of the time spent in the Korean War with a few pictures thrown in of life other than the war that were special to him. There was one model plane that caught my eye and he said it was like the one he had flown in and parachuted from, and there was a picture of he and his brother when they had met up during the war there. It was like walking back in time and knowing who this man really was, it was a story of his life in a small but bright room that he called his office. As I looked around, I made the comment, "Everyone has a story to tell..." and she replied, "yes, they do...." and that is where I realized that this day was so important. Here is a man who is slowly not going to remember his story and taking the time to hear it when we did was a big deal, it was reaching out in a way that our service wasn't ever going to. We could go wash windows again, but would we ever be able to hear about his story again from him? Would we ever know that he lived in a town outside of where I grew up and knew of my tiny obscure hometown? Would we know that he and his wife were childhood sweethearts at 15 and then found each other again after the war, feel in love all over again and married? Would we ever be able to hear about his devoted love to country and service he dedicated on behalf of us again? These are the reasons that we serve. Yes, it is great that we are able to meet tangible needs, those things are very important. But to stop and listen to another human being who has something to share, a story to tell, that is why we do what we do. We were able to stay and have this man share with us and let him know that his life was important and that who he was and what he did mattered to people he had just met. It was showing that God's love does transcend to every person whether we have known them for a lifetime or for a few hours. That couple was special to me because of what they have endured in their lifetime together but more so what they are going through now together. As we left, we offered prayer to this special couple and I continue to pray for them. It is great that we now know them not as a project but as people that we live with who are living life just as we are, one day at a time, if we can help them out if they need it, it is a bonus. That is living in community and that is why we do this.