look for the light…
Love your neighbor.
I say it all the time.
I do my best to live it out.
Sometimes, that means shoveling. Other times, it means watering plants.
For the last three years, it has meant that I look for the light.
Every morning, when I get up at 5:00am for devotions and coffee, I look out my kitchen window to see if my 90-year-old neighbor has turned on his kitchen light.
And every morning, almost without fail, it shines into the darkness of the early morning.
When I see the yellow glow, I know all is well and I don’t need to worry.
But if I ever happen to glance outside and his house is still dark, I fret until the light comes on.
I take my light-watching job pretty seriously and have all of his emergency contact info handy in case the light never appears.
It’s remarkable, really, how important seeing that light every morning has become to me; how important my neighbor has become to me.
I don’t get to visit with him often. He stays inside most of the time because it’s difficult for him to get around. His daughters tell me that he sits in the window and watches my boys play in the backyard and that it brings him hours of entertainment (Not hard to believe if you have ever witnessed my rambunctious boys).
My oldest son, Ty, mows his lawn in the summer. Each week, he invites Ty inside when the mowing is done, gives him a soda pop, a $10 bill, and tells him a story from his childhood. I don’t know who loves it more.
Last year when my neighbor turned 90, he threw a big party and invited our family. When we arrived, he put his arm around Ty and introduced him to all of his friends. He bragged about what an awesome kid Ty was and it was one of the best “love your neighbor” moments of my life.
For the last few days, his light hasn’t turned on until late morning. I didn’t worry too much, because I could see that his children were visiting and figured the overnight guests got him out of his routine. I knew he was in good hands.
But then I saw a medical supply truck deliver a bunch of equipment to his house yesterday and I got concerned. When I walked over to inquire about it, I found that my neighbor has entered hospice care and is nearing the end. He is about to meet Jesus.
I’ve cried at least 100 times since yesterday. I didn’t even know him that well…but I tried to love him every single day for three years by simply looking for his light. That sounds silly, I know, but it’s amazing how attached you can get to someone when you watch and pray for them daily.
This morning, I stood at my kitchen sink and stared at his dark house as the tears rolled down my face. I thought about the fact that I will never again get to look for his early morning light. I also thought about how grateful I am that I got to stand guard for those three years and how important it is to love our neighbors.
Dear friends, can I humbly and tearfully encourage you to look out for your neighbor? To take Jesus’ words to heart (Matthew 22:39) and start to invest, no matter how big or small, in the people who surround you? It matters.
Let’s be people who look for the light.
As always, I love hearing from you. Email me or comment on the blog and I will get on my knees for you. Let’s do this faith journey together.
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