Before we left London to drive the four hours north to Sheffield, I just needed to walk up to the shops to grab some cash from the cash machine. 5 minutes – no big deal and then Jos and I could get on with our day.
As I walked back, I noticed one of our neighbors starting to sit down on the outdoor seats at the Keats cafe. Mr Thomas is an elderly Jamaican man whom I see regularly as he slowly walks from his home to the shops in order to purchase items for his bedridden wife.
I think he was chatting with someone else and didn’t see me as I slid by. I have a trip to make – no time to chat today.
But as I walked on, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t keep walking. I knew I need to return to Mr. Thomas and just ask him one question.
Do you need a hand?
Mr. Thomas walks with a cane. Very slowly. And carrying bags of food doesn’t make it any easier.
“Yes” he replied “Could you put these bags by my door – you know, the green one.” “No problem” I said, “Have a good day.” And as I walked back to our street, Mr. Thomas called out, “God bless you.”
I think the entire interaction took a total of 2 minutes – including walking to his door to drop off the bags. A very simple task but one that I almost missed. An opportunity to serve a neighbor who needed a hand.
So often we are so focused on our agenda that we miss the small opportunities before us to help those around us. Open your eyes to your neighbors.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to love your neighbor as yourself. But then again, getting our minds off ourselves to see our neighbors in need may take a work of the Spirit. Just like it did in my case.
And if we get our eyes are off ourselves, then maybe, just maybe, we could lend a hand.