Over the weekend, our neighbors had some friends of theirs move into their basement. A young couple with an almost 2 year old, were unpacking their very modest collection of things, and were moving into a 300 sqft basement. I am not even sure if this basement is more than cold cement. Bryant and I were sitting out on our patio and overheard bits and pieces of their story and it broke us. Their financial struggle was at a place that I found unimaginable, and watching their toddler play in the grass brought it all to another level.
Bryant and I decided we’d pick up a giftcard for them, not really knowing exactly how they were brought to this place, but not really feeling like the details were important. I did that on Monday, and had it sitting on the counter for a few days. I had tried making small conversation with the wife whenever she was outside, and was trying to just know her better before I gave it to her. On Wednesday, I just decided to walk over there and give it to her. I had been struggling with how she would respond, or if she would consider it offensive. I didn’t want it to be an intrusion of privacy or come off like we were looking down on them; but, on Wednesday, I had a moment where I accepted that my intentions may not be understood, but I needed to just do it anyway.
I walked out my front door and across the street and said “I really hope this isn’t awkward, or makes you feel uncomfortable, but my husband and I overheard a bit of what your family is going through, and we just wanted to say we are happy to have you here, and do something nice for you.” I handed it to her, and she said thank you, and shared a bit about how they ended up without a house, and I just listened and formally introduced myself and then came back home.
About 10 minutes later, there was a knock on my front door. I opened it and she was standing there sobbing. I hugged her, and she told me that it was her 25th birthday. She said she was out of diapers and food, and had been crying about it being her birthday and feeling overwhelmed by what they were going to do. Lots of tears were exchanged on my front porch.
I’m telling this story not to get praise or high fives. I’m telling it because I’m not sure how you can be a witness to this and not see God’s incredible timing. I didn’t know it was her birthday. I didn’t know very much about them at all, but I just suddenly got up enough courage to go over there. It was a fleeting moment of courage too. I think I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water or something, saw it sitting there, and just decided to do it already.
My faith was encouraged by the vulnerability that was exposed on my front porch yesterday. She told me that I was rare, and I felt my spirit send up a prayer. That moments like these wouldn’t be so rare; not just in my own life, but as humans. That we, as a collective community of people wouldn’t rarely help others, but that we would make it a habit.
Do something nice for someone today. Pull your neighbors weeds, or buy the stranger behind you a cup of coffee. It makes a difference.