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Neighborhood Yeast: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Monday, December 27, 2021 by Becky Cerling Powers

My parents’ neighbor Joe used to beat his live-in partner, Daisy. One day when Joe was drunk and angry, Daisy escaped out a window and ran to my parents’ house for safety. She knocked on the door, panting from her run, her hands shaking.

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

“Oh no,” Daisy 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.

I heard Mom tell Dad that Joe was on his way, and I was scared. I was 18 or 19 years old – old enough to know that a drunken man with a history of violence was dangerous. So, I stood in the hallway and nervously watched my dad take up his place at the door to wait for Joe.

My father was a slight man with a gentle manner.

He looked small and ordinary. But he had inner strength. Now, standing there waiting, Dad seemed calm, not nervous, just watchful.

Joe came up the back steps. “Where’s Daisy?” he demanded.

“Daisy 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 Daisy spent the night in our home. A few months later, Daisy found the courage to leave her abusive partner.

Jesus once told his followers, “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Matthew 13:33).

My parents showed me the meaning of that parable.

As followers of Jesus, the kingdom of God went wherever they went. So, when they moved into the neighborhood, the neighborhood began to transform. Quietly, gradually, and at first invisibly, as they lived their usual lives and related to people day by day, their simple presence changed their environment.  

© 2021 Becky Cerling Powers – Use with attribution only (www.beckypowers.com)

You can find more family stories from Becky Cerling Powers in Laura’s Children: the hidden story of a Chinese orphanage and My Roots Go Back to Loving and other stories from “Year of the Family” in the Bookstore

The photograph shows my parents on their 60th wedding anniversary.

 

 

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