Home > Archives > Family First >
The Woman Next Door
Photo: Dreamstime
I’d only seen her once or twice, and I never knew her name. She was simply the woman who lived next door.

From a distance, I could read pain in her face etched there by a life that had been hard and that had too many scars. Sometimes, when we passed her on our road, it seemed like she was in another world—a world created by drugs, alcohol and abuse. When I waved, sometimes all I got was a blank stare; sometimes she never even looked.

But the face of that woman next door seemed to lodge itself in my heart. I wondered if she had a story to tell, or anyone to care about the path her life took. I prayed for her, that someday, someone would.

She left one day in her run down car, and didn’t come back for a long time. I thought she moved away.

Two days ago, I was heading to the mail box when I saw her standing there. For the first time, she waved when she saw me. When I started to walk by, she called out to me. It was pouring rain, and she looked a little strange. Part of me wanted to keep walking; the other part knew that I had to stop.

I Saw Beautiful Eyes

Her keys were locked in her trunk. No amount of pushing or prying on either of our parts could budge it open. While I tried to pick the lock, she stood beside me and poured out her heart. Looking into her face, I saw the same scars that I’d seen at a distance. I saw the hard lines and the roughness. Yet I saw beautiful eyes that craved love. I saw a lonely woman who needed to be heard.

I didn’t get the trunk open. I didn’t get a chance to ask her if she knew Jesus. I didn’t even catch her name. I may not see her again, but I’ll remember the fragment of her heart that I saw that day. I will remember that sometimes, touching the world starts with something as small as taking time to listen to the lonely woman who used to live next door. I’ll remember that sometimes, sermons aren’t preached, but lived out in the little gestures of kindness to a stranger.  

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in supporting the big cause of reaching the world for Christ that I forget about the woman next door. Sometimes I’m a little afraid of what it might cost my comfort zone to let the messiness of this world get too close to me. Sometimes I forget that the way Jesus reached the world was to reach out and touch it. And then I bump into a lonely neighbor, or a hurting stranger in the grocery store. And I remember that this is what Christianity is about—reaching out to the woman next door, and touching the world.

Respond to this articleView Reader Comments

By Chantel Brankshire. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

SiteMap. Powered by SimpleUpdates.com © 2002-2016. User Login / Customize.