And They Shed Blessings

It's so simple really, that I could sum it up like this: Some guys came over yesterday and helped move a shed into my yard.

It was gorgeous while they were there; cloudless blue sky on a warm end of October day, with a blustery wind that sent leaves swirling like golden confetti. I stood on my little porch and watched Larry, my park manager, manuver the bobcat holding up part of the shed, while the guys guided it as it slid over beams of wood and helped it travel to the back of my yard. The older men -- my brother Bill, and Noble, were the most effective volunteers. Younger men may have raw strength, but not the seasoned skills of organization, problem-solving and leadership that gets a team motivated and working together. There's a lot to be said for experience and the wisdom that comes with age.

As I stood on my elevated perch on the porch, I watched these men -- brother, teenage son, nephew, church brother, friends -- and it brought me to tears. I'm sure the guys wouldn't have understood if they'd caught me crying right then. But here were these people all gathered just to help me out with something I couldn't have done on my own. Friendship, caring, community of others -- how precious these have all become to me. A bit of wisdom myself as I grow older, and a heart that is filled with love and appreciation of the beauty of something that may look so simple to someone else. "Love your neighbor" Christ said, and these men, sweating and straining, put it into action for me. It was a holy moment. I have opened myself up to others, increased my connection with other human beings, and embraced a community in a church that I love. My life, which sometimes feels like a lonely battle, has been so enriched.

Blessed too by the craggy, eccentric neighbor who moved and gave me his shed, and said gruffly with a catch in his throat, "Yeah, I've got to move up north to find neighbors as good as you," and then quickly walked away. There is such immense power in truly loving your neighbor.

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