Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Hood (day 2 outside of the cave)

Happy Sunday to my friends and family members. I wrote yesterday that the next post would be about how started. It is an amazing story that has never been told before but I got another flash of light about thirty minutes ago and decided I better write about that first. It is about the original hood I moved into twenty years ago when my wife and I were just married. There are no names in this post out of respect for privacy but these people were put in my life to help me achieve the impossible and the Zoom story may not have happened without these incredible neighbors who continue to touch my life in a very deep way.

After Church this morning we are having a reunion with the original neighbors that were here when we moved in twenty years ago. My wife and I are the last of the originals to be living on the street but we have kept in touch with each of these special people. Each member of the hood will have access to this blog and day 2 of my new life is dedicated to them.

When we first moved in, we were the youngest in the hood. The average age was late 30's. One couple was older with grown kids. Everyone in the hood went to them for advice and they had the best Halloween candy for our kids. It was a sad day when they moved out but the wife needed to be close to a hospital and we live in a remote area. Thanks to a donor, the wife has been able to live a very full life and we can't wait to see her today. The husband got a post-retirement job at a store that we patronize and every time we see him he is surrounded by people and he is the life of the party. He was the same way in the hood.

We have now been through two wildfires that started not too far from the hood. The first one turned out to be the biggest in our state's history. My next door neighbor had to leave the hood because her house burned down in that fire.

Another family moved in a few years after us and what they did for the hood during the first wildfire can never be repaid. The husband had special credentials that he used to get back to the hood during the fire. He hooked up all of our the garden hoses to put out spot fires that kept flaring up after the main firestorm came through. We had railroad ties all around our home and this neighbor made sure that every time they re-ignited, the spot fires were eliminated.

Usually, when you take a vacation, you leave your hood and get far away. Well, this hood was different. A couple of the neighbors were getting together every summer at this really awesome Christian camp. Year after year they would invite us but we thought our kids were too small so we waited until we they were older. Once we joined our neighbors for vacations we got even closer to them.

One family moved away but we would continue to organize our vacations at camp to get together with them. The husband canceled his vacation because he was in the hospital in dire need of a liver transplant. While we were at camp, we got the entire place to pray for him. The regulars from prior years remembered him as the crazy one who organized pool polo games at 7:00 am where you had to play using inner tubes (they found out our neighbor was the ring leader when they questioned all the kids during their daily activities). We were NOT popular!

Within hours of certain death, a liver became available and our neighbor was granted new life. The hospital was on the way home from camp so we delivered cards from all the people that prayed for our neighbor. He was too sick to see us but the cards touched him. Later we learned that most people don't live long enough to get a transplant. You have to be the sickest on the list (near death) to qualify and the day he got the liver he was #2 on the list. #1 died hours before the liver became available.

As I close this post, I would like to ask two things. First, please pray that good health returns to my ex-neighbor that we will nickname "the candy lady". Second, please consider becoming an organ or blood donor. Two people from my hood are alive today because of the kindness of others. The water polo ring leader dedicated his life to serving others once he got his transplant. He is now a full-time deacon. Their family adopted four more kids and now total 8 children. You never know what your generosity can do to make our world better.

Wherever your hood is, may you be Blessed with good neighbors. I promise to write about Zoom soon unless I get another flash of light that inspires me to write about something else first. Happy Sunday!

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