In the middle of remodeling, the four hands we have aren't enough. So we hired extras. When we hit a wire and blew the power Handy Andy came right over. He's been here every Saturday since then, lending a hand with whatever we need. Handy Andy puts away fresh baked cookies like you'd expect from a newbie bachelor. Handy Andy makes my heart hurt when he asks, 'What smells SO good?' and I know his trailer doesn't have chili cooking in the crockpot. Doesn't have homey smells. Doesn't have anyone sitting across the table, asking about his day.
Andy's story comes out easily. "I'm going through'The Big D'." His kids are struggling, he's struggling. My heart hurts when he calls his wife of 19 years his 'ex'. Everything in me wants to grab him and tell him, 'Don't quit now, fight for it, do the hard work.' As he shares about his job, teaching at the local prison, we see in his eyes an unmet need for recognition, appreciation for his work. Where does this man see light in his typical day?
Cindy, the sheetrock lady, showed up when she said she would, with a good crew. They worked hard, cleaned up after themselves, and ate blackberry muffins, brownies, and popsicles with us.
Cindy tells me, 'I lost my husband when my kids were 5, 8 and 9.' She's been raising kids alone since, getting dirty every day in a male-dominated industry. We've talked politics, religion, marriage, kids, chickens, dogs, hawks and the workings of the Holy Spirit. I smiled when she told me she'd so hoped it would work out with the chiropractor she'd been dating - a massage at the end of the day would have been nice, but my heart hurt for her. My heart hurt at the end of the day as she stood there, covered in sheetrock mud and said, 'sometimes a girl just wants to paint her toenails pink.'
It hurt more when she showed up at our door, ready to get filthy again, with pink lipstick on, holding out a gift for me. A dozen little brown eggs gathered that morning from her hens. That she thought of me took my breath away.
God, we're so fragile and needy - all of us. We all need someone to care just a little. And you made us that way. In another world Cindy and I could be friends. Would be friends.
Why am I surprised at how far a little appreciation goes to feed a soul? Her soul. My soul.
What a rich life you've given me, God, and what a small world we live in. Help me to see the sameness of our lives, and how minute are the differences that can so easily separate us. Give me eyes to see where a dozen little brown eggs can speak your hope to someone.