Spencer Visits with His Neighbor

Spencer drove home with thoughts of how he could convince Kate to do the right thing by Sarah. He understood her shock and knew she still grieved John’s death and understandably so. It hadn’t been that long ago that he was here and then suddenly not ever returning.

The summer temperature was still hot, but days were already getting shorter with the sun setting earlier. The car’s air conditioner kept his body cool, while his mind worked overtime. Spencer found himself pulling into his driveway, wondering how he got there. Apparently on autopilot. He spotted his neighbor lady walking over to his driveway and stopped to chat with her a few minutes.

“How are you, Spencer?” Mrs. Pettigrew was in her late sixties and had hip replacement a couple weeks ago. She leaned on her walker while waiting for Spencer’s answer. Her husband was in a nursing home after having a stroke last year. Spencer had helped them with projects like clearing out leaves from their rain gutters and trimming their bushes under the front window. The couple called him when he was around since their children lived out of state.

Spencer debated how to answer. “Doing all right, I guess. How are you?”

“Hanging in there. Just got off the phone with the grandkids in Ohio. They’re already giving me their Christmas lists.” She laughed. “Always something they want, those two.”

Spencer grinned. He remembered being excited about Christmas months ahead, too. And flipping through toy catalogs.

“Would you be around tomorrow to give me a ride to church?” Mrs. Pettigrew wasn’t allowed to drive yet. Spencer took her to church when he had the opportunity if he was in the country and not sleeping or working.

“Love to. I’m going to need the inspiration and encouragement myself.” Spencer toed a weed growing in the sidewalk between their duplexes.

“Oh? Anything I can pray about?” Mrs. Pettigrew leaned her head to one side ready to listen.

“It’s Kate. She’s going to be a mom now. And she’s not interested in the job. I feel partly responsible in not telling her sooner.” Spencer shared the details with Mrs. Pettigrew who gestured him to come over and sit on her porch. She had gone inside for a minute and came out with a pitcher of fresh-squeezed lemonade and two plastic cups tucked into the basket on her walker.

Mrs. Pettigrew had been living here when Spencer moved in a few years ago. She had met John, Kate, Andrew, and Matt and knew about their deployments and other activities and kept them in her prayers. Her own husband had been a Squadron Commander and now lived in a nearby nursing home.

“You made a promise to John and you kept it. The responsibility was his to tell. But, Kate is going to need a lot of support and prayer sounds like.” Mrs. Pettigrew sipped her lemonade before going on. “Life is never easy when you have the love and peace of the creator, but when you don’t even have that…well, life can be darn right traumatic at times. Kate doesn’t go to church, does she?”

Spencer shook his head. “No. I’ve invited her and John a few times, and John had come, when he’d been here, but Kate has always declined. Says she doesn’t need the help of an unloving and mean God.”

“Ouch.”

Spencer nodded, remembering past conversations with Kate that left him wondering why he liked her in the first place. He wasn’t supposed to be attracted to someone outside his faith. Maybe subconsciously he was hoping Kate would come to believe in God. Spencer agreed with Mrs. Pettigrew that life could be very traumatic and stressful without God, but that even with his help, life was difficult. Just because a person believed in God, did not mean their life would be easy.

“I’ll double up the prayers on her behalf.”

Spencer got up and thanked her for the lemonade. He helped her with the lemonade things and told her he’d be there in the morning.

“See you in the morning, then. Enjoy your evening.”

Spencer nodded, and said, “You too, Mrs. Pettigrew. Thanks.”

****

Until next time,

Michelle

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