Yesterday evening, as we pulled into our driveway, we noticed an inordinate amount of cars in the neighbor's driveway. Neighbors we have lived next door to since 1998. Neighbors, come to think of it,...we haven't really seen in a few weeks.
Something deep down told me this was no barbeque, no birthday party.
I sent the kids in and went on over to their house, dread in my heart. I prayed, "Lord, let me know what to say." He replied, "It's better just to listen."
Our neighbor's wife died suddenly that day.
Mrs. Judy was a vibrant woman, a babysitter for a few small children, raised her granddaughter as her own. She had the biggest heart for animals, taking in strays at every chance she had. When a group of us went Christmas caroling last Christmas, she was so excited she came out and sat on the front steps just beaming, loudly applauding, enjoying every second of it.
I walked into the kitchen and saw her husband sitting at the table. If you ever wondered if it is possible to be in a house packed with people and yet be utterly alone...it's true. He was utterly alone.
I held his hand and listened as he told me in agonizing detail of his wifes passing. I was embarrassed to know such sacred information. And I couldn't help but note that, although the house was so full of living, breathing people...the heart was gone. It felt some what stifled and empty and lonesome.
As I walked back into my home later that evening, I couldn't get the thought out of my mind....women: wives, mothers...we are all the heart beat of our home. We are the nuturers, the comforters. Even the little things like decorating for holidays and birthdays, cleaning the floors, cooking our meals...all of these things we do with love for the family we are blessed to live with. And when the one who does all those little Love Things is gone...you can feel it.
So this week, when you might be tempted to gripe about the laundry or having to cook a meal, just remember this- do these things with love. It doesn't go unnoticed. And when we are gone, we will be missed for it.
Be the heart of your home.