You may recall an earlier post about our neighbor, Joe. If not, you can read about him –
Joe continues checking in with us each Sunday to let us know he’s okay, now that he is a widower. He sent us a nice Easter card with a few pictures of him and my kids they’d taken the week before. My 14 year old son has taken a liking to talking with “Mr. Joe” whenever he sees him outside. Yesterday my son shared with him all the exciting things he’s learning about World War II in history class. He also showed him a bug he’d collected in a mason jar. He listened with great interest to my son’s news of the day. They walked around his property and discussed our recent car repairs, the Great Depression and golf apparently. Mr. Joe enjoys playing golf a great deal. He has become an extended grandpa of sorts to our kids over the last year. He would have extended the conversation but he informed my son that he had to go talk to his deceased wife at the cemetery. I can’t imagine the magnitude of his loss as they were married for nearly fifty years. She was his world and vice versa.
In fact, I likely touched on this in my earlier post, but it’s my observation that they allowed very few people into their “little bubble” of existence, which is the saddest thing in the world to me. They had no children and have very little extended family, none close by. You can just tell that he relishes any attention or conversation and wants to talk. Our whole family probably talks to him almost daily now that the weather has turned. We’ve shared the Gospel with him many times and it remains the prayer of our hearts that he will turn to the Lord.
He’s in his early 70’s and very sharp mentally. He’s very thoughtful and just about every time we talk, he inquires about my father’s health.
He’s kind of a eccentric individual, I’d say. Can’t say that I’ve ever met anyone just like him. I’d give $20 to see the inside of his house. Haha. Isn’t that a silly curiosity? He lives in a big house alone and judging from the huge box of shoes that belonged to his late wife that he gave me, I’d venture to say, they’ve held onto everything since 1977! I wound up only keeping one pair of summer sandals out of that huge array of shoes. I asked him if it’d be okay to donate the remainder to a Mennonite thrift shop that gives their profits to missions and he was most appreciative.
I guess I should qualify my curiosity with the fact that my husband and I love real estate and have built several houses over the years. We love decorating, etc. Joe has talked extensively about various upgrades they’ve done over the years, etc. So, I just have this itching eagerness to see the inside of his house. He has reclusive leanings, so that may never happen. It’s silly of me really, I suppose.
Right after his wife died last July, I offered my assistance with anything at all. I’d even be willing to help clean his house or organize things, but he tends to be very private, which I understand completely. He knows that if he needed anything, we would be willing to help. He always writes in his cards, “Thank you for being so nice to me!”
That line gets me every time. First of all, I don’t think we’ve done anything extraordinary. Secondly, it makes me wonder how few people they’ve allowed into their lives to make an impact. We have, however, attempted to show God’s love and offer any help possible. He has even said that the two of them preferred to do things alone rather than getting together with others. I just think that’s a sad way to live. We need each other. “No man is an island unto himself.”
We have the opportunity to influence those around us in ways we could never comprehend.
Our prayer is that our impact will be one of eternal significance.