Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the fruit my neighbor bore

I clip a clothespin over a towel,
hanging a load of laundry to dry up on our deck,
when across the road I hear calling:

I see a man at my friend's gate, trying to catch the attention of anyone inside.
I wonder who this man is, and what he's doing when he looks up and sees me.

"There's someone at your gate!" he calls up to me.
Sure enough, there's a woman there, with a big bag.
"Mangoes!" she calls, and I think she's selling them.
"Salaamat!" I answer, a polite 'no thanks.'

But she then says that she's my neighbor, and she'll leave them at my gate
along with the ones her son was trying to deliver to my friend across the way.   
My neighbor?!?  I've never seen this woman before, but she's the wife of my M-neighbor, 
bearing gifts for me.

I run downstairs to receive her, speechless.
She hands me a bag brim-full of vibrant golden fresh fruit,

"They are from our tree," she says.
And I gasp as I see the abundance,
and I take the handles, feeling the weight of my humility in her act of kindness,
and I wonder why I've never come to her gate bringing gifts.

I garble out a thanks as she turns to go, a poor repayment for such treasure,
blushing inwardly at my slothfulness in demonstrating any kind of love toward her before this.
I of all people should know better.
Isn't it my Master who commanded that I love my neighbor like myself?

Yet here I stand with the fruit my neighbor bore,
pondering why I am so slack in bearing the fruit that God is looking for in my life.

I resolve to do better; how I don't know, but tonight as dusk falls and I hear the prayer-song over the wall, I will pray.  I will pray for their family, and for wisdom to know how to bear fruit in loving my neighbor.

Do not waste time bothering whether you "love" your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.
C.S. Lewis


Carmen said...

Thank you for the confirmation of the message I shared tonight with our congregation, sharing His love with others through serving them with our lives. :) ALSO...we have a departure date, about 9 weeks and 4 days left here. Bacolod, here we come. We are very excited and yet also filled with uncertainties. We were not prepared for God to move so swiftly. This has been a long journey, and yet, all changed within a 24 hr period, going from "not enough" to "more then enough". It makes me wonder what is around the next corner. :)

us5 said...

so exciting, Carmen! if you want to post a comment with your email address (i WON'T post it here!) i'll send you mine, and you can email me with questions anytime, if you want to!

OliveTree said...


us5 said...

thank you, OliveTree...if only i were bearing all the beautiful fruit God desires of me...