Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Actions > Words

Looks like I fell off the blog-o-sphere again. No posts since July, and it only seems like a few short weeks ago we were swimming, camping, and enjoying the warm Summer Sun. Not only did I neglect my blog posts, but I also decided to nuke my Facebook profile. There were too many reasons to list for my sabbatical, but overall it was good for me. I had "friends" that I never interacted with, and the political and election rants from both sides of the political isle were just too much for me and were beginning to impact my attitude around family and friends. I was ready for a break. A few weeks later, I recreated a FB profile, primarily because interestingly, it was the only mode of communication I had with some of the dearest friends I have. The funny part is that since I deleted my original account, then rejoined with nearly the same name (I added a J for my middle name), and I immediately got 4 or 5 messages asking "did you unfriend me?" But this post is not meant to explain my social networking journey, so I'll move on.

Way back (still can't believe how quickly time is flying by) on November 17th, I posted "I'd write a blog post about my neighbor if I could compose myself long enough to put it into coherent sentences. Stay tuned," to my Facebook timeline. I sure wish I could find a recipe for blog posting that fit my schedule, lifestyle, and life experiences. One would think that with as many gadgets as I have, and as immersed in technology as I am, that blog posts would be frequent and plentiful, but in fact, it is quite the opposite. So, after that November 17 FB post, I kept putting off the actual blog, in order to find the perfect title and words, something I definitely need to get over.

In case you don't know, I was born and raised in Kellogg. I've lived in Kellogg for all but about 3 years of my life. (.5 when I was a toddler and 2.5 when I was at the University of Idaho) I've seen a lot of changes both good and bad, but for the most part, I really like the Silver Valley. One of my favorite things about living here is the sense of community and neighborhood. More specifically, I love drawing connections to all the residents that live here through friendships, family, and relatives I have had growing up.

Across and down the street from our house live George and Barbara. Since we moved to our current house, they have made us feel like lifelong residents to the neighborhood. We are often the recipients of fresh fish, baked goods, and other wonderful things. George is an avid (understatement) hunter/fisherman and also takes multiple walks daily, once accompanied by his faithful chocolate lab Brandy, who is now no longer with him. Additionally, George is constantly helping me out around the house and yard. One time he made multiple truck trips to the transfer station, while I was at work, hauling away a massive pile of brush I had cleared from our yard. In the Summer/Fall he has his fishing in before I'm even awake, and in the winter months he shovels my snow before I'm even awake. The things George and Barbara have done for us are too numerous to recount. Oh, and have I mentioned that they are roughly the same age as my grandparents? I'm so inspired by the way they live life.

So back to the November 17 FB post, well, kind of. Starting in September and October, I wasn't seeing George as frequently. I had a refurbished computer upgrade for him and weeks came and went without me being able to connect to do the installation. I finally began calling once every few days after getting home from work around 6PM and Barbara would tell me that "George is sleeping," or "George isn't feeling too well today." Eventually we worked out a day for the computer upgrade, Saturday, November 17 in the morning.

When the day came, I got up and went for my Saturday run. It was a typical late November day, cool, gray, and a little windy. When I returned from my run, I found my neighbor George hard at work, tending to some fallen leaves in my front yard that I had neglected. Actually I hadn't really even noticed them as they are in a shrub area between our next door neighbor's driveway and our yard. It doesn't even seem like there are many leaves there, but by the time I returned from my run, the pile of leaves George had blown and raked was huge. I approached George to thank him, and within minutes I could tell he was moving a little bit gingerly. As I was piecing together my not seeing George lately, he mentions to me with a slight sound of painful labor in his voice, and without stopping raking leaves, that he just had surgery to treat his recently diagnosed prostate cancer. I was floored. Here was my 80+ year old neighbor who just had surgery for prostate cancer, raking up my leaves! I still have no words to describe how moved I am by George's actions.

A little bit later on, after doing the computer upgrade, I continued to reflect and marvel at how blessed I was by the selfless actions of my neighbor. Further, I was immediately inspired and convicted in my own life and all my little frustrations, complaints, and shortcomings were dwarfed in perspective. I found it profound that in all my years of attending church and hearing about how we should treat others with love, I had not seen or experienced anything that exemplified or demonstrated God's love like the selfless actions of my neighbors. It is truly something that will stay with me for the rest of my life, a simple yet powerful life lesson that transcends generations and sickness.

In light of the rash of violent and horrific events we have witnessed in our country lately, I felt even more motivated to post this, especially after a friend posted on her Facebook shortly after the tragic events in Newtown Ct., "There is evil in this world but I believe there is more Good." So very true, and we can all do more to increase the "Good" around us even more. And I'm the first to admit that it's easier to talk about doing good than to actually go out and DO good. But I have been very blessed and inspired by some dear friends of mine (such as Brian Reynolds and his family, and Laurie Roberts to name a couple) recently and their acts of kindness. You can read about one such act here by my friend Laurie Roberts. If we all did more kind acts like this throughout the year, I think we would be surprised by the impact.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.