Sunday, April 19, 2015

How to Live A Life of Joy

Sometimes you don't see a blessing headed your way until it is standing right in front of you. You look up and there it is, filling your heart and changing you for the better.

This past week it has rained quite a bit here in south Texas, causing my lawn to grow wild and lush. This afternoon I finally pulled out my mower to tackle the overgrown mess. It was a rather warm day, so I was hot and sweaty, thinking how I just wanted to be finished. I was about 2/3 of the way done and pondering how I was going to mow a small section of yard at the side of the house that I hadn't mowed last time because it is awkward to reach with my electric mower. That's when I looked up and saw him, an older gentleman wearing a stark white t shirt and a back brace walking towards me, pushing his own mower down the street.

In my neighborhood it is not an unusual thing to see someone pushing a mower down the street, but when he got to my corner lot the man reached down and started his mower, smiling at me. He set off walking again, mowing the edge of my lawn along the street. When he got to the overgrown area at the side of the house, he turned his mower into the tangled mess and began clearing it, still smiling. For a while we were both mowing in tandem, but I shut down my mower and backed out of his way while he finished cutting the final strip of lawn. The whole time he was smiling.

When he finished, he introduced himself and tells me he is 83 years old and dying of cancer. Doctors already removed a cancerous tumor from his brain, but now it has settled in his chest. He was told he has six months to live. He smiled again and said he had a great run. I thanked him for his help and tell him it looks like he has done a great job at living.

After he left, I headed into the house to tell my daughter what had occurred. I was nearly in tears. I heard a weed eater and peered out the window to see he returned to tidy up the spots you can't get with a mower. I couldn't see his face, but I am sure he must have still been smiling. Little one wanted to tell him thank you. I encouraged him to take the man a glass of water, but the man turned it down, saying thanks, but he had his own.

We could all learn a lesson or two on how to truly live out our days from this man. He didn't want anything in return other than the joy it brought him. How few of us reach out to help our neighbors, especially with a smile on our faces, yet this man who knows he is dying has found a life of joy at the end of his days by reaching out to help his neighbors. I am blessed, my heart feels fuller, and I feel somehow different. I have been shown how to live by a dying man.

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