There’s an old gray house in my neighborhood that I walk past every week. Pink insulation sticks out where the asphalt shingles are missing. The people who lived there tore off the screen door and hauled a washer out onto the lawn. Then they moved out and left a toilet in the driveway.
After that, the house sat empty for a long time but I never saw a “For Sale” sign. “It has possibilities,” I thought, sounding like a real estate agent. But I knew it was more than a “fixer-upper.” It was a “starter-over.”
Even so, it had a nice back yard and a red pine tree next to the front porch. A year passed, maybe two, and then things started changing, mostly on weekends—a new roof, some new windows.
None of it happened quickly but every time I walked by, I noticed some small improvement, evidence that the owners—whoever they were—hadn’t given up. And now, at last, they’ve moved in! The repairs aren’t complete but there’s a gas grill in the yard instead of a washer, and the lights are on at night.
I don’t even know these new neighbors but their efforts have touched me, reminded me how doing something good helps everybody.