I oftentimes feel the need to bring up my neighbor Dave in conversation. I don’t know why, but for some reason, he always comes up. I fear this post might make him loose a lot of built up treasure in heaven because I am about to make public a few things he does in secret. My hope is that he doesn’t see me as a stalker (and that you don’t, either), but that his simple ways might help you become a bit more like him:
Let me begin with story about how I first met Dave:
My wife and I were carrying semi-heavy objects into or first home. His house was right next door. He happily jaunted up the sloping drive and said “Hi. Welcome home. I’m Dave and I have a China cabinet in my basement that would look great in your living room. Want it?
Awestruck, I could only say “nice to meet you.” I looked at my wife who was equally surprised who then said, “Sure.”
My wife and I had just come off a missionary year in Mexico. We had nothing to furnish the house. We barely had a kitchen table, the rickety ole’ piece of wood from our old apartment that we called our “table” was fading fast. We welcomed any and all furniture in much the same way our neighbors welcomed us.
We bounced down Dave’s stairs and picked up the china cabinet. He helped lug it up and into our new abode. Standing there, noticing the emptiness, he asked us if we needed some couches.
Then a TV cabinet.
Then a TV.
Then a DVD player.
We said yes and by the end of the day, our house was completely furnished… by Dave.
I’ve learned a lot from my neighbor since our first day in town. Granted, he’s just a normal guy, but he completes every action throughout his day with great fervor and pure joy. I love to share that story when people first visit our home, because it always reminds me that hospitality wins hearts.
Lately, I’ve attempted to contemplate the source of his elation, but instead, I’ve decided to go stalker on him to see what makes him tick. Here’s what I’ve noticed:
Dave is always washing his car.
Every weekend, and sometimes on the weekdays, you can find Dave with a bucket, a sponge, and on an overcast day, wax. He spends hours with cotton swabs and q-tips making sure that both the exterior and interior of his so-called “Maserati” is sheek.
It never fails that 3 or 4 passers-by see him hard at work and distract him from his cleanliness with a conversation that lasts for at least a half hour. This is his prime talking time and, consequently, everyone in the neighborhood wants to talk to Dave.
He goes for walks.. a lot.
Rain, snow, and always in good weather, neighbor Dave likes to go for walks. A few weeks ago, I would have told you he did this so he could find dog walkers. He loves the K9s and I could have sworn he journeyed through the sidewalks just to find a dog to pet.
It turns out he does it for his health.
Now, he has a new dog to pet all the time. Her name is Lucy and he calls her his daughter.
He mows his lawn.
Looks just like Tiger’s Stadium, right?
Yet, another excuse to be outdoors and make enough noise so as to attract people. I’m not kidding, whenever the motor on his mower starts up, my daughters peek out the window, excited to run out onto the deck and get a hug. This is a conditioned response that not only my daughters have, but the other neighbors too.
He bounces a basketball.
That’s when my conditioned response kicks in. Ever since I was 7, a bouncing basketball has interested me. I always follow that sound. And when neighbor Dave does the bouncing, you can bet I am out the door ready to practice lay-ups for 45 minutes while my family comes to make fun of me for getting old and decrepit. Neighbor Dave always takes the first shot though. He likes the way community is formed through sarcasm.
Finally, he smiles.
My neighbor Dave is a regular guy, but his actions are as spiritually souped up as a Formula 1 racer. He might not ever tell you that, but it is hard not to notice. He rarely talks to you about God or religion, but his hour-long discourse on the latest Car and Driver magazine will draw you into his world. Then, when you are least expecting it, a more profound conversation will occur, one that is only possible when true friendship is kindled.
It’s little things like that that make you want to follow Dave through a brick wall if he asked you to,
or to heaven.