As I went about my work this morning, I reflected on the many stories that I have gathered in my twenty years of delivering newspapers to the folks in this little neighborhood. Having, in pocket, my thirty day notice of termination, I am doing my own personal inventory of all of the blessed moments of human contact that my choice to be involved in the lives of these people have provided. The many wonderful individuals who have enriched my life. And, as I pass this one particular house, I recall with clarity the woman whom I would see in pre-dawn moments, walking her tiny puppy. The two of them would regularly be on her driveway. And her language of carriage bespoke a defeated Spirit … a broken Person.
So, I responded to the puppy. It showed enthusiastic joy at my arrival each day. Its energy was almost beyond this woman’s abilities to control. Then she relented and ‘introduced’ her puppy to me. She carried him to the window of my van and allowed the exchange of physical contact between the puppy and myself. Then, after some days of repetition of this level of trust, brief words were shared. Then more, with more time. All the while, an obvious melancholy and sadness accompanied her. Until the day that she opened and told me “her story.”
She and her husband liked this neighborhood. They wanted to build their “dream home” here. And they elected to build it in the more “exclusive” part of the neighborhood. The part identified as “The Lakes” and set aside for “custom built” homes as opposed to the all-similar homes from the developer’s catalog of Standards. So her husband and she made a Plan. They would postpone the start of their dreamed of Family until they could give full attention to their intended children. They would pay off all debts associated with their growing business as owners of a new (and very popular) pub and eatery. They decided that it would be better if the dream home was completely paid for, with no debt attached, before they had their first child. This would make for an idyllic setting into which they could bring a family … unfettered by any impediments … and enjoying freedoms that a successful business and a debt-free life could provide. A magnificent Plan!
Time passed. The business excelled their highest hopes. Its debts were all satisfied and profits accumulated. The home was built and all in 'The Lakes' acknowledged the new home on the shore of the large lake to be the most distinctive and understatedly elegant of all other homes in the pinnacle place of the neighborhood. Then the house was paid for, and time and circumstance ready for the ultimate step in their Plan. She became pregnant. They were realizing the fulfillment of all of their dreams.
Then the cancer. A tumor on his brain. Inoperable. Death eminently a short time away. She was disconsolate to the extent that her body began rejecting their child. The baby died before birth. Her husband died shortly thereafter. This was not their Plan! The glorious Plan was obliterated by the natural and normal elements of life. Elements that they had never considered might be visited upon them. They had insulated themselves in a shell of arrogant design that assumed their control of their destiny. And life simply did not comply with their design.
And this was the woman who I had for so long seen dragging her Self out to pick her newspaper up from the driveway of that magnificent house. The person whose shoulders drooped in the posture of a slave beaten into submissive servitude by a Master of compassionless intent. She was existing in a vacuum devoid of hope … of life itself. Not what she and he had ever “planned.”
And I thanked Life for the lesson. And I renewed my sense of urgency in saying what I have to say … to You … in this, the moment that we are certain of. If I am aware of a sense of Love … I speak “Love.” If I know concern … I tell you of my concern … right now. When you make me happy to consider the wonder of You … You are going to hear of it … right then! I will let no “Plan” nor postponement for some other “more opportune time” dissuade me from giving all that I have to give in each instance of “here and now.” Life has been generous and loving enough, to validate and reinforce the legitimacy of those determinations … with lessons taught by examples like the “Lady of The Lakes.”
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