I Throw Like a Girl

Ordinary People on an Ordinary Day

Posted by Carol on December 18, 2008

Monday was an ordinary day for me. I woke up, got ready, drove my daughter to school and went to work.  Work was fine, same as usual. An ordinary day.

After work, I drove home. I went the same old way I always go.  When I was two streets away from my neighborhood, there was an older gentleman with orange cones who was using his car as a road block. As I approached, I saw that he was turning the cars ahead of me away from the street I needed to turn onto to get home.

We had had some underground pipe laid this summer near our neighborhood, so there were many days when the streets were closed to through traffic, but we “locals” were allowed to carefully make our way to our homes even with the road closed. I thought that must be the case, they were probably doing a little work on the road and they would surely let me through since I lived there.

As I slowly drove up to the man, I smiled and told him that I needed to turn left because I live just up the road.  He said to me, very kindly, “Well, if you live here, then you know your way around. I can’t let you through”.


I took the long way around to get into my neighborhood another way. As I got closer to where I would normally turn from that direction, I saw up ahead that way was blocked, too.  But since I do live here, I know my way around.

I turned one block sooner than I normally would, wound my way through my neighborhood and approached my house from the opposite direction than usual.

This time the road was blocked by a police car one hundred feet from my driveway.  On an ordinary day, I might have approached the officer and asked him to let me by, since my house was right there.  But I could quickly see that this was no longer an ordinary day.

Two houses down from ours there were no less than six fire trucks, two ambulances and dozens of volunteer firefighters from two towns. I parked my car and walked down to where neighbors had gathered to see what was going on.

Apparently a fire had broken out in the garage about an hour or so before. Someone called 911 when they saw smoke billowing out of the house. By the time help arrived, the fire had spread through the whole second floor of the home.  By the time I got there, the right end of the house was gone, and what was left of the roof made it pretty clear that there was no way the family would be able to live there again for a very long time.

Fortunately no one was home and no one was hurt. However, it is very unsettling to see flames coming from your neighbor’s charred house.

For the rest of the day, thoughts of the family who live two doors down stayed with me. I prayed for them every time I though about them.  And every time I thought about them, I thought about Jesus’ instruction to love your neighbor.

These people literally are my neighbors. I may not know them well, their two little girls are much younger than my teenage children, yet, they are my neighbors.

So, a bunch of ordinary people got together to plan how they could care for this family.  With Christmas just a few days away, some of the needs were obvious.  And some of the needs seemed overwhelming.

As need after need was read off the list provided by the family, an ordinary person from our neighborhood or the girls’ school, or the mother’s workplace stepped up to volunteer to take care of each need which ranged from providing meals to finding a short term home rental.

By the end of the evening, not only would the little girls have Christmas presents, but they were going to be delivered to them by Santa himself on Christmas morning, placed under a beautifully decorated Christmas tree provided by ordinary people trying to show the extra-ordinary love of God to their neighbors.


7 Responses to “Ordinary People on an Ordinary Day”

  1. wow. I love seeing God at work. He is amazing.

    Thanks for sharing, Carol.

  2. Dena said

    A fire destroying a house is sad at any time of the year, but at Christmas time it’s especially devestating. Bless you all for showing that Gods love is alive and well by helping this poor family. They will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Melanie said

    Oh my…thanks for sharing this amazing story of neighbors caring for one another!

  4. Beverlydru said

    You related this tragedy in such a beautiful way. And responded in an extraordinary way. Thank you for sharing.

  5. LJ said

    Bless you all extraordinary neighbors! We did a similar thing when neighbors had severe storm damage. We used VolunteerSpot.com to schedule meals, babysitting, needed clothing and supplies – and invited friends and neighbors to signup to help. It was really easy and helped keep all the helpers straight. (kind of like Evite – but for helping).


  6. Alisha said

    That is an incredible story! I’m so glad that the neighbors took their time and money to help that poor family!

  7. Diane said

    I may be slightly hormornal right now, but this is making me cry. Glad you were the neighbors and that you listened to the Lord’s voice in your heart. Bless you and them this Christmas.

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