Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So I hiked the half-mile (or so) to our supermarket this morning, even had to wear my black wool winter coat because we have returned to freezing temps (boo). Standing with my cart near the potatoes, a former neighbor from my old neighborhood (she moved away two years ago and lives very near the supermarket where I chat with her at times), greeted me with her sweet, elderly smile.

And then she asked if I'd heard that Mrs. Nelson, our next-door neighbor of 15 years, passed away last week. I said, no,I'd not heard, but I'd known she was ill and staying with her daughter's family.

Sigh. Nancy was 82. I wrote about her here in my blog months ago (you may recall), when we chatted outside her house and my back began to ache but Nancy, ever the trooper and incredible woman, seemed fine.

You come across some people in your life who you are so grateful that you met. Nancy is one of those people. I would call Nancy a character--not the wild and crazy kind--but the unique, hardly-make-them-like-that-anymore kind. She was the first to bring people soup if they were ill and she'd run errands for anyone who asked. She was on all sorts of church committees, the kind where people actually help others, not just discuss helping others. She was known for aiding and comforting hundreds in our community.

When we first moved in, Nancy said to be sure to use her clothesline anytime I wished--she'd get a tad miffed, I noticed later, if I didn't use it very often (she knew I didn't have a dryer by choice). "Haven't seen you hang clothes on the line lately......?" she'd say.

Nancy was very different than me--about a million times more outgoing and vocal and self-sacrificing. I learned much from her,things like loosening-up and not fearing being who I really am around others. She spoke to all our neighbors and kept track of their comings and goings and could recite the neighborhood's history from the last 40 years.

But I think the greatest lesson I learned from Nancy is that you don't have to be perfect in order to be loved and respected by everyone. Nancy had her faults and we differed greatly in our Christian beliefs, but I still always felt that she was one of the most amazing, fun-to-be-with people I've ever met. Or ever will meet.

Nancy taught me to step outside my comfortable box where everyone believes and acts just as I do--and instead, seek out those who are different. A person learns so very many new things outside that (boring, fear-based)box, things she'd never learn inside that same ol', same ol' box of What Has Always Been...
... and I'll always be grateful that Nancy taught me that.
"Love seeks not her own..." ... from I Corinthians 13

1 comment:

smilnsigh said...

And I'm happy that this Nancy will live on, in your memories of her.