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Neighbor Love: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/17/2021 4:00:00 AM by: Becky Cerling Powers

My parents’ neighbor, Joe, used to beat his wife, Debbie. One day when Joe was drunk and angry, Debbie ran to my parents’ house for safety. She knocked on the door, panting from her run, her hands shaking.

Mom found my dad and told him what was happening. Then the two women went upstairs to my parents’ bedroom to talk in privacy. But as soon as they got upstairs, they looked out the window and saw Joe walking toward our house, looking grim.

“Oh no,” Debbie said. “I’d better go. I don’t want to bring you trouble.”

 “You stay here,” Mom said.

“You need to be safe. Bob will take care of Joe.”

Bob was my dad.

When Mom told Dad that Joe was on his way, I was scared. I was old enough to know that a drunken man with a history of violence could be dangerous. So I stood in the hallway and nervously watched my dad take up his place at the door to wait calmly for Joe.

My father is a slight man with a gentle manner. He looks small and ordinary. But he has inner strength.

“Where’s Debbie?” Joe demanded.

“Debbie has decided to stay here,” Dad said firmly.

I held my breath.

Joe stood glaring at Dad for several long seconds, but Dad said nothing. He neither budged nor blinked.

Finally Joe turned on his heel and walked off.

He didn’t come back, and Debbie spent the night in our home. A few months later, Debbie found the courage to leave her abusive husband.

When I was growing up, my parents taught me, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” They showed me what that meant many times, in many ways.

The day they protected Debbie was one of the times, one of the ways.

What St. Paul said

“Love…always protects” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Today’s Prayer

Dear God, we want to be good neighbors. Please show us how to love our neighbors today. Help us to do for them the things that we would like others to do for us. Amen.

 

© 1998 Becky Cerling Powers

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