Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CHILL (10/29/15)
TITLE: An Icy Reception
By Chris Goglin
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Who is he? Does he have a family? Why does he ignore us when we are outside? I imagined a committed husband struggling to survive in suburbia, with a loving wife beside him. On the other hand, he might be a widow grieving over a recent tragedy. Could I be of help, or should I stay away? A few more days passed with no communication.
“Ah ha!” while gazing out my front window, There is an elderly lady unloading her groceries in her garage. Should I go over and help her? Just as I began to walk out the door, she quickly looked up, closed her garage door abruptly, and disappeared into her safe abode. Disappointed again, I slipped back into my house wondering why people are so afraid of meeting someone new. I suppose in this society, it can be alarming with all the crazy people you hear about...but is there no hope for a little kindness and neighborly concern? It’s not like I have a Mohawk and skimpy threads! I’m just a normal-looking grandma who seeks a kind word or two.
Before we knew it, Halloween was on the calendar. The streets were filled with parents toting their toddlers from door to door. We did our part in welcoming the kids to our house, and they graciously thanked us with humongous smiles as they excitedly stashed their treats in pumpkin bags. I wish more people could be happy, and uninhibited as these costumed ambassadors. Many adults are so fearful of meeting drug addicts, child molesters, or criminals we hear about on TV, that they shy away from all new acquaintances. It doesn’t hurt to show a little kindness, even if unrecognized (1st Peter: 4:9).
As the fun-filled evening drew to a close, my husband and I walked down the now-abandoned streets, and noticed a couple sitting in their driveway with a kettle of leftover goodies. My husband, trying to be neighborly, walked up to them…
“Trick or Treat,” he said, anticipating a kind response.
The couple promptly answered...”Well, I don’t know…”as if they felt offended we had walked on their property.
“Hello,” I said quickly, trying to break the ice, “We just moved in down the street...I’m Chris, and this is my husband, Rich. ...Just wanted to introduce ourselves.”
They repeated their names back to us in such an uncaring manner that their eyes seemed to motion us back down the driveway to be on our way.
“Well... have a good night,” I said, hoping they would have offered us a treat since they had so much leftover. “Nice to meet you,” as I looked away.
“Honey,” grabbing my hand, “they sure gave us the cold shoulder! ... Guess we’ve struck out again.” I just shook my head and remembered the last community we lived in.
“The same thing happened in Nevada,” I agreed, “we had to make the first move to meet people, because everyone seemed to stay in their own world not caring about anyone else.”
“HOWEVER, after bringing them a plate of my homemade Christmas cookies, they started to change.” Oh, those cookies were so good!
“Yep, I remember. All it took was someone making the first gesture. It was amazing how they warmed up to us, even inviting us over the next week! I guess we will have to “defrost” our new neighbor’s hearts this Christmas with the same culinary sweet talk!”
Expressing kindness always includes some kind of action. Jesus did this when he healed the lepers, and blessed the thankful, and the unthankful (Luke 6:35). How much more should we care for the people around us, even though they snub us and walk away? Next time you encounter a cold-hearted attitude, remember the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12 NIV) and respond with a smile.
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