A lady came to our door awhile back, carrying a pan nearly half her size. It was brimming with homemade fried rice.
Our words were clumsy, as I tried to understand the unexpected gift. I thought she was at the wrong house, thought she was maybe intending to join the neighbor’s party. After all, she had such a big pan of food in her arms. “No, for here. The car accident?” she asked me. “My friend said so. You – in car accident.”
That’s when I stopped and realized she was, in fact, here to bring me food. She didn’t want to go to the neighbor’s house. She had come to a stranger’s house, to my house, because her friend told her we had been in a car accident.
I tried to tell her how grateful we were for her gift, tried to make sure she knew how much it meant to us, tried to gather her name and her friend’s name so I could tell them thank you again and again.
Then, she smiled and waved goodbye, and I haven’t seen her since.
She couldn’t know that her gift to me was far more than what could be put in our mouths to feed our bellies. (Because the little things in life are never of little importance, are they?)
In truth, it represented hope, something that could be put in our hearts to feed our souls.
Because we had been through some dark times as a family after the accident. But, here before me was encouragement that beautiful things happen when neighbors love neighbors who love neighbors.
I don’t know the woman who came to my door. I couldn’t even place the friend who sent her there. Maybe it doesn’t matter though. Because, the point is that community works. Loving neighbors really does spread hope. Humanity still cares, the little things are still greatly valued, and everyday actions can turn up glorious when laced in love.
And so, maybe it’s meals to a neighbor or a ride given or a card sent or kids babysat. Maybe it’s forgiveness extended or grace given. Maybe it’s ham balls or lasagna… or fried rice. Whatever the means, may our end goal be simply and profoundly to love God and love our neighbors. After all, loving well is powerful and healing to a world in need of hope.
By Anne Dahlhauser, Seneca Center