I saw my precious elderly neighbor walk slowly with her cane, to the curbside to get her paper this morning. It was then that my mind filled with special memories of yet another neighbor. We call him Mr. Bob. Mr. Bob lost his wife years ago and lived by himself. I have learned more things from the life of Mr. Bob. Life changing things.....he lived out loud.
Every morning without fail very very early, you would find Mr. Bob walking to each house, picking up the newspaper, and taking it to their front door. I have watched Mr. Bob do this for many years. I watched him as he walked briskly to each door, then after hip and knee replacements, he walked with a cane to each door. The final weeks of his life, Mr. Bob had his walker, and he was determined to get each paper to each door. Some days it would take him hours....he just started earlier. I have seen him walk through rain, snow, sleet and hail literally....to get that newspaper to the door. I always loved my conversations with Mr. Bob. He always, and I do mean always had a smile on his face and exuded joy. I offered to help him on days I knew he was going very slowly and knew he was hurting. (Although he would never admit it) He would always tell me he was fine and loved doing this, it brought him joy. I asked about his determination to do this everyday. He said to me “Lisa, It may be a very small thing, but over the years I have learned that it is not by what you say that reaches most people, but how you live. I want to live out loud...I want to love out loud...without saying a word.” He then went on to tell me that he prayed for each house and their family as he put each paper by the door. He said to me that over the years he has reached more people for Jesus without saying a word....just living what he believed. The thing I remember so vividly about Mr. Bob was the light that you could see and feel in his life. His eyes beamed. He always had a wave for every passing car. Many times I could hear him singing and whistling as he was delivering papers. It was hard to see Mr. Bob pass away recently. He was 87 years young when he died. Oh I so loved that man. He was like a grandfather to the neighborhood. It was a sad day, the day Mr. Bob went to be with Jesus.
As I took Holly for a walk this morning, I saw all the papers out with frost on them. A sight that I was not used to seeing. Oh how we miss Mr. Bob. It was then that I saw my sweet elderly neighbor walk ever so slowly to the curb to get her paper. Holly was carrying her leash in her mouth and promptly ran over to my neighbor, dropped her leash, and picked up the paper. At first I was chasing after her thinking....Holly was going to scare my precious friend. It was then that I just heard the Lord say to my heart....let her go....listen Lisa, watch.....love...it’s your turn. I was like HUH? So I stopped, watched Holly go get the paper in her mouth and she walked that paper up to the front door and she waited for my neighbor to get to the door. My neighbor was delighted! She was so happy and said this made her day. She was laughing and waving her arms with excitement. Holly handed her the paper with her mouth, and wagged that tail with more joy than I have ever seen. Holly knew....she knew! Me? I was standing in the street, mouth open, tears streaming down my face, watching my dog literally be used by God! Sounds funny huh? It was my turn. It was my turn to live out loud. I got it. And God used my dog to help me “get it.”
We would take over where Mr. Bob left off. We just finished getting the papers on our street, took them up to each door, via Holly and her happy tail. She had the time of her life. And you know what? So did I. Mr. Bob was right....this was fun. It gives me time to pray for each house, each neighbor, and have more time to just listen. Mr. Bob is up there in heaven I know smiling. I kind of think he prayed for this before he went to be with Jesus. He lived out loud....I want that too! I am happy Holly and I can follow in his footsteps....literally.