I read this article the other day and it inspired me to write about what we are doing right here on our own street.
We have lived on 123rd Terrace for over a year now. Last year about this time, we were all packed up into the van, ready for a picnic at the park. Of course, Quentin and I can't get 'all ready to go' without about a dozen 'last' trips up the stairs to get what we forgot. This time, we were actually parked on the street, waiting for Quentin to come back from one such trip up the steps. While we were waiting, an elderly lady dressed in about a dozen shirts, sweat pants, and combat boots approached me. She asked me if I could spare a few pennies. I literally had no pennies, not a cent on me or in the van. I'm so glad I didn't or I would have given her some change and left it at that. But I didn't, so I said, are you hungry? I can make you a sandwich! So I did. After all, we were packed for a picnic, I had all the stuff right there in the middle of the road with me.
And then I did something that surprised even myself. I learned her name and told her mine and then I pointed to my front door and said, "Ms Mollie, I live right there...if you are ever hungry, you come knock on my door." What a crazy thing to do...ladies and gentlemen...I do NOT live in the best part of town. I don't even live in the "I guess its ok" part of town. But what's the use in living on the "wrong side of the tracks" if you don't make a difference while you're there?
I believe with all my heart that God had put us here on 123rd Terrace. I don't know how much longer He will have us here, but I do know that the safest place in the world to be is in the center of God's will!
The next time I saw Ms. Mollie, the boys and I were playing in the back yard. She again asked me if I could spare some pennies. I didn't give her money, but I did get her something to eat and sent her home with a few things to eat as well.
After that, she came around asking for something to eat a few time, but eventually, she just came to visit her friend. She calls me her little white friend. :) Her visits really take a lot out of me because she's extremely difficult to understand when she talks. She doesn't have teeth, for one thing and I'm not certain that she doesn't have some level of deminshia as well. ( so when I write 'Ms. Mollie said,' it should probably read I think 'Ms. Mollie said,') But I'm getting better at understanding her and sometimes she seems very happy to just watch the boys play as I continue in the kitchen...as long as I bring her something to eat :)
Once I was on my way to the grocery store with out any of the boys (*miracle*) and as I was driving down 123rd Terrace, I saw Ms. Mollie walking down the street. I pulled the car over and hopped out to give her a hug and say hello. She asked me where I was going and then asked if she could go with me. I said, Sure! We got quite a lot of stares walking through the grocery store together. I remember her going to the little sample stand twice.
One the way home, she showed me which house was hers so I could drop her off. This opened up something new! Now I knew where she lived.
The next week, I pushed my double stroller up the 123rd Terrace hill (its a doozey) with twin 16 month olds in the seats and a 3 1/2 year old hanging off the back. I was sweaty when we arrived. However, when Ms Mollie saw us standing at her door to visit her, you'd have thought it was Christmas morning and we were Santa and three elves! She was so excited to see us!
Have you ever been inside a small, poor household in a different nation? That's what Ms. Mollie's house reminded me of. It was dark...only lit by the light peaking through the sheets over the windows, it smelled a little strange, the TV was on the whole time, and I could only understand about a third of what was said. I met one of her granddaughters that day and have met her daughter and other granddaughters since then. I was surprised to learn that I couldn't understand any of them much better than I could understand Ms Mollie.
This is turning into a very long post...I will try to finish it later.