14 January 2009

Not my pay grade

Sorry I haven't been blogging in ages. Still have a cold. Just when I thought it was on its last legs, I got congested again last night. I'm still much better than I had been, so don't call a priest just yet.

I also got a new computer and have been battling with the thing since the moment it came in the house. It's not the computer, it's me. I'm quickly becoming a card-carrying Luddite and technology is getting the better of me. Windows Vista is a nightmare...I liked being able to control the operating system, do commands in DOS, make the computer do what I wanted it to do. Now the thing is smarter than I am and does as it pleases. I'm scrambling to figure out how it works and just get myself back to Square One.

Which brings me to my point. I still don't have my camera software installed. Heck, I just got the printer hooked up yesterday, but can't hook-up my very cool, but very old scanner because it doesn't have a USB port. Because I don't have the camera hooked up, I can't show you a picture of the gift my neighbor gave us.

My neighbor is wonderful. He's got to be in his 70s, but gets out and walks MILES every day. If the snow falls, don't worry, Bob will be out there to shovel -- shovel us out before he even shovels himself out. This winter my husband has tried to get out there before Bob, just to be neighborly too, but Bob is hard to top, he's relentless in doing kind things. During the summer, he cuts our grass. Cuts it all summer long. Here's an older gentleman out cutting our grass, the grass of two able-bodied folks. I've even told him we could cut our own grass a few times, but he insists we are too busy with my hubby working and me taking care of the kids. No use in arguing with him, because he insists on helping out.

He seems to take pleasure in doing these things, and many others, for us and we are very grateful. It's like having an angel living next door. At Christmas, we always remember Bob with a small gift, just a small way of thanking him for all he does. One year, knowing he likes to make home-made wine, we got him a large wine rack to store his bottles in (he's always telling us to come over and get a bottle of wine...but I'm not a big fan of wine so usually serve the stuff at the cabin).

Bob loved the wine rack. He raved about it for a very long time. Being active and handy, he reverse-engineered the thing and began building wine racks for friends. Not just a rack, but an entire cabinet that looks like a piece of furniture. When his friends would visit, he would introduce us to them, telling them we were the ones who bought him the wine rack and got him started on his latest hobby of wine cabinet building. Late at night and early in the morning, Bob is in the shop in his garage building his friends wine cabinets.

This year, we were shocked that he had built one for us. It is quite a labor of love.

If I had to point to a person who lives his faith, it would be Bob. If he's in his yard, he always greets you. He is always looking out for our family, always offering his time and resources, always offering to help at any task, always in a happy mood.

But Bob doesn't attend church. Not any church. I know he was raised a Catholic. With his very Irish last name, it would be remarkable to not be Catholic. Unfortunately, his childhood was not happy. Without giving us the details, he told us his mother had turned him off to religion and also turned him off to marriage. To this day, the man is single and doesn't attend church.

Still, Bob's heart is very kind. He opened his house to a friend's daughter who was attending the University of St. Thomas. It isn't too far to the campus from here and he allowed her to live rent free. She is from a very devout Catholic family and has been a good influence on Bob, hanging scapulars around his house and dotting it with other sacramentals.

I wish Bob attended church. I wish he had some formal religion in his life and am glad God gets to be the one to judge, not me. I pray for God's mercy for Bob, but then am left wondering if he's the one who has merited Heaven by his fidelity to God's Word and I'll be the one spit out because of my tepid faith.


Angela M. said...

Why don't you invite him?

swissmiss said...


I know my husband has mentioned it to him and he sees us going to Mass all the time. Plus, he is good friends with the family whose daughter stayed with him during college and they visit and talk about having to cut their visit short with Bob to go to Adoration and they have made pilgrimages to various places. I just think there is something quite painful in his past he's not willing to deal with. However, I will ask him myself...tell him that St. Agnes now has the TLM...hope it doesn't dredge up a hornet's nest...like me and my husband getting married at the very parish (St. Agnes!) that caused my husband's grandparents to leave the Church (long story). I do think that his friends have been working on him too, so am optimistic that some day...

Christine from Maryland said...

Continue to pray for God's mercy on Bob. I think that's better than taking the church route with him. Let God work on your heart and his. Bob obviously knows the Lord because he seems to be doing His work so well.

Angela M. said...

Swissy - my prayers for all involved.