I took all three kids on a walk to our church for St. Anthony’s Day mass and brunch – a distance of approximately 2 miles. Naturally, we also walked back. It was a bit warmer by then, and we were all tired and sweaty. About halfway home an older woman standing outside her house noticed us, greeted us, said something about being hot, and asked if we wanted water. I thanked her and said we were only home. She emphatically repeated her offer, word for word.
I know a mother’s no-nonsense “offer you can’t refuse” when I see one. I chuckled inwardly, deciding she’d expressed just the right level of interest and concern, and accepted. She invited us to her porch, where we met her husband, son-in-law, and granddaughter. We had a pleasant conversation of small talk and enjoyed ice-cold bottled water before resuming our trek. We might have stayed longer, but the sky was beginning to look mean and I was worried that we might get caught in a storm. We thanked them for their generosity, they invited us to return, and we were on our way.
That’s all there really is to it. Nothing of earth-shattering importance happened. No profound lessons were learned. Nothing inspired me to rant. All that happened was that a neighbor saw an opportunity to perform a corporal work of mercy, and she did it without repugnance, glib self-righteous, or sanctimony.
I just wanted to share that, because I think it would be cynical and irresponsible not to. We should praise good behavior many times more than we complain about bad behavior.
I hope I get to meet more good neighbors. I hope we all do.