Last night I was a little chilly, so I grabbed a pair of slippers to keep my feet warm. All the memories came flooding back. Many years ago I lived in an apartment in
with a lovely roommate. In the building next to us there was an old woman who often stood on her balcony which looked directly into our window. She looked a lot like the old woman in Snow White with the poisoned apple. Her hair was long and wirey gray and her back was hunched over, making her about 4 feet tall. If I’m being honest, she kind of scared me. My roommate and I were attending Fuller Seminary at the time and in a class my roommate was taking, they were doing a study on loving your neighbors. Ashley decided to put her lessons into practice and reach out to the old woman on the balcony. Thus began a beautiful friendship with Bryna Gerber. Ashley ended up getting married and leaving our apartment, but I had forged some deep bonds with Mrs. Gerber and continued to go visit with her and glean from her wisdom. Her apartment was neat as a pin. She lived there for over 50 years. She brought her babies home from the hospital in that apartment. She entertained in that apartment with friends from her husband’s company. She was widowed in that apartment. Bryna loved to knit and she used to knit her husband’s socks! (I thought that was so romantic!) One day she took me into her closet where she had a dozen bags filled with knitted slippers in every color. She asked me if I’d like a pair and I gladly accepted. Every time I came to visit, she offered me a new pair of slippers and after awhile, I had quite a collection! I certainly didn’t need 10 pairs of slippers, but it brought her so much joy to give them away. It made me sad to see all of those bags of slippers with no one to give them to. When I took a team of college students on a mission trip to Santa Monica , I asked Mrs. Gerber to knit the girls on my team slippers. She was over the moon about the project. I took her to the yarn store to buy new yarn and she got to work. This little old woman who used to scare me as she stared at us from her balcony, was really a wise lady with many gifts and talents and a generous heart, just waiting for someone to say something more to her than hello. About 5 years ago when I moved back to Poland Southern California, I went to visit Mrs. Gerber. There was a package on her doorstep that was addressed to someone else. I knocked, but no one answered. I walked away and cried. I was pretty sure of what had happened, but didn’t want to admit it. I will always remember Mrs. Gerber and always be convicted by that sweet old woman who I would have otherwise quickly passed by to hurry into my apartment; but Jesus says to love your neighbor as yourself. He says, “whatever you’ve done for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you’ve done for me.” Is there someone you know that is lonely? Is there someone that you see all the time and quickly avoid? Don’t miss an opportunity to love Jesus through loving your neighbor.