We live in a modest neighborhood. Our homes are old-school and certainly won’t be mistaken for model homes. The families that live in these homes, however, are unique models modestly contributing to the world family in our corner of the world. We can talk all day long about greatly valuing families, but these neighbors of mine are taking action to strengthen their own families and others as well.
Come, take a walking tour with me.
Here we have a well-used home whose front porch sports a wheelchair ramp used by two different family members. This is an intergenerational household where the grandparents have opened their hearts and home to provide a secure haven for their children and grandchildren. Members of the family pay that generosity forward by serving the local school and community.
Here’s a traditional red brick home with a non-traditional family. A single mother, now a grandmother, invites all the children and grandchildren (usually around 20) every week for Sunday dinner. With grit and ingenuity, she has built an addition, created a giant bubble machine, a human carwash, and a back-yard hill for winter sleigh rides and summer water slides. She builds faith by keeping her set of “Grandma scriptures” for everyone in her family to mark favorites and sign their name. All this on a shoestring budget. Her family reaps the wealth of her love and sacrifice.
The next rambler features a well-used minivan, frequently pulling in and out of the driveway filled with the children who live there and often a few extras. No matter how full their plates or how meager their assets, there is always room in this couple’s home for one more child or one more quiet act of service.
See this home with Dutch tiles and a garage door that is gaily decorated for every holiday and season? Those cheerful embellishments are symbolic of the light these parents are determined to shine on their adult son who lives there and suffers with bipolar disorder. Calling on modern medicine and good old-fashioned love and stubbornness, they have brought him back from hopelessness with a new lease on life. He now takes walks, goes out for an occasional movie or dinner, and sometimes is the first to say hello when a neighbor passes by. The battle continues, but they will never retreat.
Finally, we notice a home with a well-kept yard. The thing is, the elderly couple who lives there can no longer keep up with the flower beds, rose bushes and weeds. For years now, two or three women, each in her 60’s or older, meet regularly to spruce up the yard, allowing the couple to live in this place they love. As we walk by, Carleen and Kathy, two of these yard angels, are hard at work.
When asked why they do this, Kathy responded, “I think families are the most important reason that we are down here on earth–to take care of them and help them in any way that we can. And I think going around and giving service is the Lord’s way, and He wants us to do everything in our power to help other people to come back to Him and to have a good life. To me service is everything that He was about… We need to help individuals, our families, and anyone in need. I think it’s the most important thing we can do.”
I hope this stroll around my neighborhood will inspire you as it has me. Throughout my life, I have been changed, molded and inspired by caring people–in and out of my family–who showed me the power of family love, loyalty, and service. I hope my little home with the red door will be a model home of strengthening, standing for and serving families–my own and others.
Written by Norma Hendrickson