Sunday, September 13, 2015

Neighborly Love


My next-door neighbor has a new roof that doesn’t leak anymore and upgraded electric system that won’t set her house on fire. With the help of a generous friend, we cleared over 14,000 pounds of debris off her property. It was mostly trash that was never taken to the town dump.

You see she gave up her car to have money to live on. I helped her apply for a senior discount on her phone bill. With the savings, she could now get trash service. But, she still needs more money to live on because half of her income goes to pay mortgage and taxes. I noticed that she was paying 6.5% interest on her mortgage, yet most mortgages go for about 3.5%.  Her bank never suggested that she could refinance her mortgage to save money to buy groceries.

I asked my neighbor if she would be willing to check to see if she could get a better interest rate to save money and she agreed. Last week, we went to the bank together. The bank mortgage manager must have reviewed the neighbor’s mortgage because within a few minutes she had a plan where this senior could save herself $80 per month and get her mortgage rate lowered to 3.5% interest.

On the way home, my neighbor asked me, if I owed the woods where she likes to rest after taking a walk in our woods with her dog. I told her that the local farmer sold the parcel to another person for a profit and I was never asked to make a bid for the parcel. She enjoys walking in our park and takes a rest on a log in the woods. However, one day last week, the new owner came on his gator and pointed out to her that the log was on his private property. She did not know he owned that part of the woods where the log sits. He told her not to comeback since he did not want to be liable if she fell on his land.

When I told this story to my best friend, she went to the shed and pulled out a lawn chair and plot it into the woods on our side of the border. She told me to call our neighbor and tell her that she could rest with her dog anytime.

That my friends is what it means to be being neighbor. It’s not the minimum you can get away with that gets you eternal life; it’s the great soul within each of us. With this message of love, take this message and walk the talk.

God watches over us as we pray: “ Those who despise their neighbors are sinners, but happy are those who are kind to the poor.” (Proverbs 14:21).

Lord, I pray for all my Sonshine Friends who lend a helping hand to their neighbors. May their good works be their ticket to heaven.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Which Soul Are You Today?

Another way to understand metanoia is to imagine there are within each of us two souls, a little soul and a great soul. On any given day we tend to identify more with one or the other of these and we are a very different person depending upon which soul is growing within us.

Thus, if we take our identity from our little soul we will inevitably feel bitter and angry.  It is the little soul, where we are petty, afraid, aware of our hurts, and constantly nursing the sense of having been cheated and short-changed. In our little soul, we are paranoid and defensive. When we relate to life through it, we become shortsighted, impatient, despairing, and constantly looking for compensation.

But we also have within us a great soul. When we let it grow, we become a different person altogether. We relate out of our great soul when we are overwhelmed by compassion, when everyone is sister or brother to us, when we want to give of ourselves without concern of cost, when we would willingly die for others, and when our arms and heart would want nothing other than to embrace the whole world and everyone in it.

I witnessed this “great soul” of compassion when a nurse was caring for a survivor of senseless violence. He had been shot and the bullet grazed his head that required ten stitches to close up. She listened to the young man’s panic and fears and after his story gave him a hug and told him that the staff would always be there for him. This is the great soul.

Let us pray to the Lord and remember: “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. “ (Psalm 33: 20).

Lord, I pray for all my Sonshine Friends that the “great soul” grows strong in our hearts. May we be the eyes of Jesus who accept anyone who comes through our doors, the ears of Jesus listening with compassion to their hurts and fears and the tongue of Jesus reminding our family, neighbors and patients that we need to forgive one another and love each other as sisters and brothers in Christ.