Our new tenant seems to have settled in nicely. When I got home from work on Saturday, Tim had our truck pulled up to the door. Our tenant waved from the back. They were loading the truck with things for his new home. One of the benefits of having a big house is that we had a bed that we would not miss. A wing chair. A small table. A folding table and two chairs to fill in for a temporary kitchen table. Other things found their way on to the truck as well. Bedding and pillows and my old set of pots and pans. We even have an extra microwave. (How did we end up with such an embarrassing excess of stuff?)
This young man had no shoes, just a pair of flip flops. His sneakers had fallen apart walking to work in the rain. His feet are larger than any of the feet in our house, so Tim quietly put the word out at church to some men of the big footed persuasion, and the story went round like wildfire. Money was pressed into his hand, money enough for a sturdy pair of hiking boots as well as a pair of waterproof boots with removable felt liners for this winter, so that his new shoes would not be ruined in the snow. Socks, too, and the boy fingered the socks, telling Tim over and over, "I've never seen socks like these." And my gruff Tim said, "Those are work socks and they'll keep your feet comfortable." He had the boy pick out sandwich makings so that he would have something in the refrigerator to get him through until payday. Even with all of that, there was still $48 left over, which we planned to put towards a warm coat for him. But no. A coat was donated, a new one, with a removable liner. Gloves and a hat, too, everything matching. Today, I received another call. Someone had replaced their dinnerware, and offered up their old corelle ware (a complete and matching set, including the serving bowls and platters and casserole dishes and the like) as well as their old set of flatware.
And the boy himself is shyly excited about all of this too. He went out on his own the first morning in his new home. He went to garage sales and found himself a small crock pot still in it's box. He also found a toaster, which he cleaned up, polishing the chrome. The folding table in his kitchen has an inexpensive vinyl table cloth and a small plant in the middle. He washed his clothing, and hung it carefully in the closet, organizing his clothes with the same care that he organized his meager kitchen. When he heard Tim coming in the front door of the building, he went to the top of the stairs and called him to come up and see how he had set his things up.
I like how this story is unfolding. It makes me glad in my heart. How will it end? I don't know for sure. I suppose it could backfire on us, despite all the positive signs we are seeing. It doesn't matter though. I do believe we should always try to help others. Even if, in the end, it doesn't make a difference at all. When it is all said and done, we'll be judged on our actions, not his response.