A Good Measure

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I couldn’t tell you the names of the children who live next door, but my neighbors Ann and Bill have become the local grandparents my babies don’t have. They are an integral part of my life.

When Libbie and I first moved here, they brought us a plant and banana bread. People just don’t DO that anymore. In their early 70s, Ann and Bill are retired but certainly not sedentary. Last Spring, Bill and I planted a garden together, but he did most of the work!

We spent many warm mornings on their back porch as they shared their morning pot of coffee with me, fed Libbie the Teddy Grahams and fruit snacks they stock just for her, and let Libbie play with a bag of old Happy Meal toys that belonged to their granddaughters.

Bill has infinite patience for Libbie despite the fact that he won’t touch the baby (too fragile, he says). He will let her sit in his truck and change every single thing he has adjusted as she buckles and unbuckles a seatbelt 13,000 times.

Ann and Bill have lived in the same house for 40+ years–and so have many of the neighbors on their street. (Our backyards are catty-cornered from one another; they live on a much less busy street in more of a “neighborhood.”) Two doors down lived a lady named Martha.

Martha had no family to speak of, so Ann and Bill adopted her into theirs (much as they have done with us). In May, Martha slipped and fell at the Food Lion and broke her hip.

Since then, she’s been in and out of the hospital to the nursing home to the rehab center. At 80 she’s no spring chicken and could not seem to recover from the hip break and bouts with pneumonia. Ann and Bill have done everything you could possibly think of: taken over her finances, including being landlords to the other occupant of the duplex Martha owned; done all her laundry; fed her cat and then found the cat a new home; cleaned and modified the house so Martha could come home just to find there was no way she could. They have tirelessly attended to her every need, visited her nearly every day–despite the fact that from what I understand she was slightly, er, curmudgeonly.

{The day they did try to bring her home from the nursing home, she only pointed out one thing in the house Ann and Bill had gone to great lengths to clean and prepare: the tear strip on the box of Tide was not torn off correctly.}

Martha died Sunday morning after one final battle with pneumonia. It was her choice to be sedated and drift to sleep rather than have them put her on a ventilator.

Only then did Bill and Ann find out Martha had left them her house in her will.

I am tickled pink that my friends have received such an unexpected blessing when they have given tirelessly out of the goodness of their humongous hearts.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38

18 thoughts on “A Good Measure

  1. I have only met Ann and Bill a couple of times (cats!) but I love them. They have shown me an example of what I want to be like, what I want to grow towards being. Even though I am in a new town I pray that I will find ways to minister to people like Ann and Bill have done. p.s. perhaps they would rent you Martha's house??

  2. Amazing and such a beautiful example of loving one another.

    We left some absolutely awesome neighbors when my husband was transferred to Ohio a few months ago. I truly miss them. They were the same way with us, they really are only about the ages of our parents and their children are grown and don't live at home. They took amazing care of the kids and me each time my husband was called away by the military, helped with my garden and mowed the grass when we were out of town, bought a kiddie pool for the kids to play in so I could have a break while hubby was deployed and became some of the greatest friends we have.

    What a blessing it is to have such amazing friends and neighbors.

  3. I absolutely love it when good things happen to good people! And while she might have seemed curmudgeonly while she was alive, as it turns out, she had a pretty good heart. Perhaps she just wasn't able to express herself in words.

  4. Wonderful story and such a good example of what we all should do for our neighbors.
    Beckie (mom to one of your co-workers at Lifeway)

  5. What a great story!!

    How lucky for Libbie and David to have them in their lives. My brother and I had a "Grandpa" that lived down the street from us when we were little. My grandparents lived more then 1 hour away. He was there when I went to prom, graduated from high school and went to college. He died before I graduated from college, however, I knew that he was watching me from above as I walked across the stage and smiled even brighter.

    You all are lucky to have them in your lives.

  6. That story gave me chills (the good kind). How great to hear of something good happening to amazing people. I'm so glad you have such great neighbors!

  7. There is no question that your neighbors are very kind and caring. To me it was sad that the woman that passed couldn't openly be thankful. It was only in her death that she showed pure grace and I feel sorry for her not being able to show that in life. Very powerful story. Thank you

  8. No matter what your stage in life or circumstances, there is always someone to whom you can minister. What a wonderful way for Bill and Ann to find out that their efforts did not go unnoticed!

  9. This story brightens my day! I'm so glad to hear there are still good people out in the world! Sometimes it seems pretty bleak. Thanks for sharing!

  10. This sweet story truly brightened my day. It's so good to see folks like Ann and Bill rewarded for their faithful love and good deeds.

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