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The Man No One Missed

I walk the dogs daily in my neighborhood. Still fairly new here, but I'm learning people. Do with this story what you will:

The past few weeks, every time I passed this one house, I never saw the occupant outside. He was usually washing and detailing one of his vehicles, either the very expensive truck or the very expensive Corvette, and I would see him outside every few days tending to his lawn or a vehicle. I only met him once as he never returned pleasantries. The closest came when he grunted one day when I said 'hello!' That was all I ever got from him. He made it clear he really wasn't interested in talking.

Recently, I noticed when I passed his home that I hadn't seen him out in some time. Both vehicles were also covered in pollen and leaves. The yard didn't look sharp. The resident was a Vietnam vet and a proud Marine. I knew this from his license plates, bumper stickers and the flag he flew.

I also noticed on the side of the driveway a withering store bought flower and a Coors can along with an ashtray. I wondered what that meant.

A couple of days later, the man across the street, whom I see often, was getting on his bike for his daily long ride. We said 'hello' and he heard my daughter say to me,'what is the flower and Coors can about?'

The neighbor said: 'He died. Sad thing. He wasn't nice to anyone here, so no one really knew what was going on. One of the neighbors finally went over to see if he was okay, and no one answered the door. Long story short, he had been dead for some time. No one knew.'

I said, 'man, that is sad.'

To which the neighbor said, 'yeah....but really, the guy was just mean. No one could have known. Heard he has family coming down to settle estate issues.'

The Coors can monument was from one friend apparently he had. This man would come over once a month or so and they would hang out. Even the friend wasn't aware until well after the fact.

Few things that struck me:

1) We all need the gospel

2) We all need to be gracious to the people around us. Never know what people are going through.

3) I wish I had tried harder to get the man to talk.

4) Be careful how you treat people. Anyone can be rude, 'speak their mind,' or rationalize their anger. Do that enough and you'll isolate yourself-we all need community.

5) We must avoid two extremes: isolating ourselves from others and the other extreme-looking to others to be what only Christ can be for us. Both are dangerous.

6) So many people live small lives focused on themselves, their issues, their stuff. That is a small world and will fail you in the end. There is a lot more going on than your stuff and everyone is dealing with things. Be gracious.

7) Get help if you're struggling. Ask. I wonder what triggered this man's anger and isolation? I wonder if he tried to get help or if he just pushed people away and turned inward?

8) Our time here is short. Don't waste your life.


Grace to You,