#52 ruby and wesley

“for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” {matthew 25.35}

I’ve known for a while now what my last post would be about. I knew as soon as it happened that I would write about this, because its been a long time since an encounter made me feel the way this one did.

feel. that’s the key thing.

I started this blog in january of 2011. I was laying in bed at my parents house over  christmas vacation last year, thinking about the year behind me, dreaming about what was to come. never in a million years do we anticipate accurately do we? we can never, at the start of a new year, plan or suspect how things may end up. we set goals and dream dreams. some of them go well, some of them don’t go anywhere.

but a blog – that’s something I could count on. that’s something I could commit to.  I had been wanting more accountability and direction in continuing my personal writing, and god gave that to me. this idea, planted in my heart, simply to give. luckily, well within my means. $10 a week to a different organization or cause I am interested in. it’s been 365 days, 52 weeks, of god-ordained “work” for these things I care a lot about. some of them I did justice to in the stories I shared and donations I made, some of them I did not. but, nevertheless, this is post 52 and I am just a few days shy of completing it by the end of 2011. I feel like I did ok.


I usually only like to write when I WANT to. when I am inspired to. if you’re privy to my personal blog, you know that I get a lot more writing done when I am in love. either with a person or an adventure – those are the 2 incidences that usually spur my brain into stringing together coherent thoughts. and when I enjoy it most.

I do not enjoy writing when I am feeling brokenhearted and stagnant. and I have spent much of 2011 that way. and that’s why it’s good not to know what a year holds when you commit to a weekly blog… beautiful things, hard things, both at the same time. god knew every step that lay ahead of me, and still tasked me to write this blog anyway. he does not let me get off very easily.

regardless of when I wanted to write, I did.

regardless of my feelings.

and that’s becoming a new goal for 2012 for me – simply that phrase “regardless of my feelings.”

this past year, I turned 30. I love being 30, it doesn’t bother me in the cliché way that it does some people. I do feel a little like I am getting old, but that’s ok. I also feel a shift in responsibility in my life. no more excuses. I am a legitimate grown up.

it’s time for me to figure out how to do life well. finances, career, love, friends, church, family, eating healthy, working out, loving people well, helping others enjoy this one short life we have.

no. more. excuses. which means that regardless of how I feel about things, I’ve got to keep it together. 2011 taught me that I’m still not good at that. and that’s something I want to improve upon.

in my previous post I spoke about how this year I have a goal to engage more with what is local to me. the people, in particular, who surround me.

I moved into a new house on a lovely street about 7 months ago. I quickly met and got to know my sweet next door neighbors, ruby and wesley. they are a couple in their late 70’s who have only been married a few years. they live in the little white cottage beside me, and they are keenly interested in my comings and goings.

wesley started mowing my lawn in the summer, and always kept me up-to-date on the latest lawn news. I usually have no idea what he’s talking about. he comes over and pounds on the door until I open it. he gives me the scoop about the neighborhood and about ruby.

sometime in the summer or fall I started noticing that wesley was waiting for me. he would wait for me to get home, and then pop out of the house to pretend that he was going to get the mail at the exact time that I get home from work. I’m usually tired and ornery at the end of the day, and was annoyed that he did that. I didn’t want anyone waiting on me. that’s why I don’t have a pet, or a kid, or probably deep down – a husband! I don’t want to let people down. I don’t want them relying on me for support – physical or emotional – that I am not able to give.

but through our interactions, my heart softened. he remembers every single thing I tell him. he told me he thought I was the “hardworkingest girl he knows”. they gave me apples from the amish country. they called the city to get me a new trash can when they saw that mine was broken on top – and for that matter, they take out my trash for me every week. they pick up my newspaper. they watch out for me.

this was all unsolicited attention, but care, all the same. and the thing is, they really don’t know that much about me. they don’t really know if I am a good person, or what my job is, or if I am nice to people, or trustworthy. they like me anyway.

just before christmas I was out at the store and saw these lovely, huge white poinsettias – and something struck me that ruby would like that. so I spent $10 and bought her a plant. then I made them some homemade cookies – because they seem like the kind of people who give a lot of homemade goodies, but rarely get any. I stopped by their house one sunday after church. that was the first time I had been inside. it was like I was transported back to the 60’s! their house was warm and overflowing with pictures of family. they seem to care for a lot of people.

the looks on their faces when I gave them the little gifts were priceless. I wished I had a camera. something so incredibly small meant something quite a lot to them. they made me feel wonderful. they made me feel loved. they were so grateful that I would think of them.

ruby and wesley reminded me, again, that love is all around. it rarely looks like how I think it will, though, and that’s when I get sidetracked. that’s when I stop believing that caring and giving of myself is worth it.

I’ve given a lot in 2011. we all did. we all do. money, love, time, hard work – to accomplish these things takes something out of us. it takes sacrifice. sometimes we get to see the fruit now. sometimes never. sometimes we have to wait a long time. so I’m learning and trying to be thankful for even the slightest glimmer when god allows me to see that when I  give, it’s worth it.

I want to end the blog there, with the above thought, and let that be it. but there’s one more thing I want to be sure to say, somehow. and that is that I know all good gifts come from above. all I have to give has been given to me to start with. and its for no gain or glory of my own that I give. its great when god allows us to feel good – like we’ve made a difference, that we’ve blessed someone, that he’s using us to further his work on this earth – but the glory belongs to him and him alone.

how are you going to give this year?

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3 responses to “#52 ruby and wesley

  1. You are a beautiful example of God’s love! I am very proud to call you niece!

  2. Seems like just yesterday that you were telling me about starting this blog and now it’s complete. Loved it, Shannon – watching you pour out your heart over the course of a year has been my pleasure :)

  3. LOVE! Have only read this first post but look forward to catching up on the rest!

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