I like to think of myself as an observant person, a people watcher, a situation assessor, and a nature observer. To this end I have several bird feeders in my yard, with a variety of offerings for different kinds of birds to enjoy. One thing that I have noticed is that during fair weather, birds tend to approach the feeder in groupings by their breeds; the house finches come one at a time, the mockingbird waits until she can have it all to herself and the cardinals sit on surrounding branches like folks at a bakery who have taken a number, and when its time, each one steps up to take a turn at the feeder.
But in a storm or just before a storm, all bets are off. The birds flock all together to the feeders, and no one seems to mind how many are there, or what kind of feathers they have, or what size they are…everyone prepares for the inclement weather by coming together.
We had an unprecedented storm of sorts in our little part of the world one day when a neighbor and her family had to move out of their home without any forewarning, actually immediately. All of their belongings were suddenly on the driveway and they had no plan or place to go.
Now our neighborhood is not unfriendly by any means. We know each others’ names, we wave and chat and the like. It is a neighborhood of families at the busiest stage of life, with kids and school and sports and church and jobs and so on and so on. And we are all respectful of each other’s spaces, both physically and otherwise. But this storm threw us into a new situation altogether.
My first thought, my first reaction, was to stay in my house and try not to add to the embarrassment and frustration of their situation, since I was not a ‘close’ friend, other than in physical proximity. But God rattled my cage big time, and pushed me out my door to go and see what I could do to assist. I think it was seeing her Kitcehaid Mixer sitting in the drieway that cinched it for me. I went. At about the same time the neighbor from the other side joined us, and we began to pack up the precious memory portions of the belongings, the albums and pictures. Still the situation remained overwhelming as belongings continued to be brought out of the home and to the street. Within a few hours, if something wasn’t done, their possessions would be up for grabs to anyone who passed by. At that point another neighbor stepped up, having a stash of moving boxes and packing paper. More neighbors with more muscle came over to help move things onto vehicles. A rental truck and a rented storage space were procured and we were in business. An offer of a place to stay was given by one family. Before darkness fell, there were fifteen or more neighbors and friends with strong backs and helping hands moving goods, and making a bad situation tolerable. Before 10:00 p.m. everything was out of the driveway and on its way to a safe keeping place, and the storm that had come so quickly was made more bearable by the many hands that came to help.
From John 13: 34 and 35 comes a really clear direction: “And so I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
I’m not thinking the flow of our neighborhood will change immediately because of this happening. But I do appreciate knowing that there are people around me that would come to my aid in a crisis…and I can be observant of others who may need a hand. There’s always a storm in someone’s world…be watching!