Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The Things I've Heard

I do much of my creating in this she shed space and the time spent there has come with unexpected insights.

My neighbors are doing significant outside additions and renovations. They’ve had a string of workers coming and going over the past few months—roofers, carpenters, excavators among them. My building is close to the work area, but far enough away that I mostly don’t hear anything but muffled words and an occasional shout. Sadly, a couple of times it's been loud enough to hear gruff exchanges.

Then one recent day our doorbell rang, and when we opened the door, our friend Kent stood there. “Just letting y’all know I’m doing the stonework on the screened porch next door,” he said.

Jerry and I have known Kent for years. He and I were members of a lay witness mission team that went into dozens of churches over the years where we shared our testimonies. And we were also part of another Christian community where we’d run into each other. His family business is legendary for their extraordinary stone and brick work.

After we shared life for a while, Kent went back to work, and it seemed from the minute he did, the atmosphere changed. The word I would use to characterize this change is joy. It just seemed if he was there, laughter rang out from morning til night. That’s not to say a ton of work didn’t get done. Literally. I’d look over there and the big stones piles were going down daily as he created stone walls and a fireplace. I guess he subscribes to the “whistle while you work” philosophy.

I noticed at the end of the day, I felt uplifted myself even though I had no idea what was being said—just the cackling over there boosted me. I have a character in one of my books a lot like Kent. The character is often prone to tell dad jokes, but people laugh not because of the jokes, but because of his giggling. That’s much the way it is with our friend. We crack up because he is.

While reading Proverbs, I came across a verse in chapter twenty-seven that seemed to speak to this, “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” Kent has a heart of joy and that is reflected in his life wherever he goes—whether he’s giving a testimony in church or laying a stone in someone’s backyard.

Who knows what the effect of his being here had? Maybe the other neighbors noticed the difference in the sounds coming from next door, too.

God calls us to make a difference wherever we are. We don’t all have the same gifts, but God has given each of us something to leave behind in every circumstance—it could be kindness, compassion, wisdom, encouragement, mercy, love . . . the list goes on. God could use any of these to draw others closer to himself.

I’m kind of sad about the renovations ending because I’ll miss the joyful noise over there. However, I’m glad for once again seeing how much our lives can affect others even when we’re not aware.

Thanks for the reminder, Kent.

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is available wherever books are sold.  Also consider her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2021

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