Thursday, August 26, 2010

Neighbors, Funerals, Mice and Friendship

My sweet, kind neighbor died on his 70th birthday. We got the call and watched the cars come and go all day. It was a quiet home-going, but all of us in the surrounding homes are gonna really miss Tom. The funeral last night was a wonderful reminder of his steady, faith-filled life. This morning has dawned as one of the most beautiful of the summer and the private family burial is happening up in West Bend in about an hour. I woke up praying for the family and thinking of how much I miss my own mom.

It has been a year since we knew she would not be with us much longer. The weather and season are strong reminders of the swirling chaos of last August. The ache of missing Patty McMullan felt overwhelming when the door bell rang about 8am. I was all dressed for the day (kind of surprising) and answered the back door wondering what could possibly be up.

Barb walked in all out of breath, we hugged and I cried for missing my mom. Then Barb reported her reason for the unexpected early visit. She had discovered three dead mice in her washer. She was really looking for Lee who had already gone for the day, or Drew (my 23 year old who loves critters of all sorts). Oh well, Drew is out of town and unavailable for mouse removal duty.
Guess who that left for the accomplishment of the job? YEAH... me.

After 24 years as my neighbor, a night of sitting together, sharing kleenex and stories at Tom's funeral, and a myriad of other friendship building experiences, how could I say 'no' to this small expression of care? Barb has bailed me out of many troubles and now it was my turn to do the same. You have to understand that this is one tough lady who faces all sorts of harsh circumstances with incredible resolve. Barb's husband is essentially house bound after a fall in the yard a few years ago. She handles all the demands of caring for him and the house with incredible commitment and tenacity. I can only hope to be such a faithful wife. Barb meant it when she said her vows and she is living it out in front of me. "In sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, til death do us part"

So mouse removal was part of my morning. Their four little carcasses are in an ice cream bucket at the bottom of my driveway ready to be taken with the trash to the landfill today.

When I woke up today and prayed for the Lord to order my steps, give me a heart to follow close after Him and hear His voice, mice in the washer were not part of my plan. Sometimes love in action looks completely different than my lofty ideals.

Thanks for the lesson, Lord.

Matthew 22: 34-39
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind'. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."