I really have even less excuse than other people. I have sat in a church pew alone on a holiday and watched people file by at the end of a service, heading to full homes and cheerful holiday dinners, while nobody so much as said "Hi" in my direction to the single mom whose kids were away. I would roll my eyes at myself and my seeming semi-pariah status in church. I know what that's like. I wondered (a little self-righteously, no doubt) if they were blind.
I remember when another church member had her husband go overseas on business for a year, and how the church rallied behind her as she tried to raise her children alone for a year. There were sign-up lists for helping her with home repairs and yardwork, sign-up lists for sending supporting emails and phone calls. I thought it was something of a slap in the face to those of us who are alone 24/7/365 but there isn't a similar effort. I vented to on-line friends of the situation -- and was that ever an eye-opener. One person who has never met me told me, very confidently, that the reason nobody was interested in helping me was that I must be the kind of person who never helped others when they were in need. I disagreed, but didn't want to blow my own horn so offered no details. As she continued to insist that I must be a very unhelpful person to draw such cold responses from people, I finally (and against my better judgment) listed various ways in which I helped people in my family, neighborhood, church, and wider community. She did instantly change her approach; she told me that the reason nobody was interested in helping me was that I must be the kind of person who seemed like I never needed help. The one thing I learned from that experience was: if someone doesn't want to help, not only will they not help, but they will also manage to blame the person they're not helping for that decision. Again I wondered (a little self-righteously, no doubt) if they were blind.
So I really do have less excuse than other people. I realized the other day that my old neighbor across the street hardly comes out anymore, and the semi-shut-in next door likewise. And I even found myself powering up the excuse-generator in my mind. The woman next door is far from pleasant; her husband the semi-shut-in is, from medication, partially insane. The old neighbor across the street has never been known to have a conversation without criticizing me and my children and my child rearing skills. And I have to face it: I've been wilfully blind. Am I so lame that I can't walk next door? My neighbor next door is.
Praying to shut down the excuse factory, and stop being blind and lame.