A “Vacation” means to vacate
The work, the folks, the place –
To leave behind the stress and strain –
Get off the treadmill; leave the rat race.
But what if you’re retired
And you like the things you do?
What if you don’t have to work?
What’s a break from routine for you?
A “Staycation” means to stay put.
You don’t have to hop in a car.
You don’t need an RV or trailer.
You can take a break right where you are.
Stay in your retirement spot –
In the beautiful place where you give.
Continue to play with friends each day.
Your Staycation is the way that you live.
Gather your toys and relish your friends.
Invite family to come from afar.
You don’t have to vacate to live the good life.
You’re living it daily – right where you are.
We have a family of jack rabbits who live under our porch. It is such fun to watch the bunnies emerge, tiny and vulnerable, with the most amazing ability to jump great heights and long distances. Our neighbors have jack rabbits who live in their field. Curious about humans and their habitations, the bunnies often hop over to inspect the house. Doggie doors are not a good idea. Not only might jack rabbits find their way in (as did this bunny when we left our double doors open one afternoon in our downstairs bedroom), but skunks, badgers, and coyotes might become unwelcomed house guests as well!
This week my husband received a phone call from Texas. It was our neighbor’s husband. His wife had called him in a panic because a little jack rabbit had jumped into the hole of their downstairs window grate. Try as it may, bouncing like a… well, like a jack rabbit… it could not leap high enough to escape. She watched the frantic creature and recalled an incident a year ago when something similar happened. They were not home to see and help it, so the bunny died. They found it weeks later when they returned. The only reason they discovered the carcass was that the smell drew them to the area!
Determined not to let this bunny meet the same demise, she called her husband. Now, what was he to do from Texas to Montana? Why she didn’t call us – or one of the other neighbors – I have no idea! But, that’s what her husband did. We weren’t home at the time, so he called the next neighbor. At a neighborhood dinner last night, we learned the outcome. Oh, how I wished I had been there to capture the incident on video!
Dashing over to help the damsel in distress with her trapped rabbit, Bob discovered the frantic creature still bouncing as high as it could inside the window box grate. He lifted the grate out of the window well, set it down on the ground in front of him, and as the jumpin’ jack rabbit leaped, he placed his hand under the bunny’s tummy and gave him a boost. Up and over his head she went (with his help, of course) and off she bounded! The neighborhood gathering got s good chuckle out of it as we imagined the story Little Jack must have told his bunny mates when he returned to the hole in the field.
Do you suppose a screen over that window well might be a good idea?
Believe me, we learned to be sure our downstairs door is closed!
Who is the neighbor you find the most challenging? It’s not the one who loves you back. It’s not the one who reciprocates with a meal invitation or the one who waters your plants for you when you’re off on a trip. It’s not the neighbor across the state or the country or the world who sends you a Christmas card or calls you once a year. It’s the one who doesn’t love you back. The one who doesn’t reciprocate. The one who doesn’t seem to know how to reach out to others. The one who needs us to love them the most – expecting (and receiving) nothing in return. Do you have such a neighbor? How do we love THAT neighbor?? I Cor.13:4-7 tells me how (In Eugene Peterson’s “The Message”).
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
When I love my neighbors with THAT kind of love, keeping my ears tuned to God, asking for God’s help discerning the best way to help THAT neighbor, then I can be sensitive and listen with my heart. I can give while preserving the dignity of the recipient. I can try to deliver to THAT neighbor a much-needed touch of God’s grace.
Most gracious God, who gives me enough grace to feel it overflowing, teach me to share. Help me love THAT neighbor Your Way.