My Neighbor, Mr. Bill 

His small act of kindness has been a fresh reminder for me. It is as if the Lord keeps saying, “These are the acts that move the world. These are the acts that touch and pry open people’s hearts.

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My wife, son, and I moved into our current house last August. After ten months of not having our own place as a family, it has been really nice. We are still hoping and working toward a PhD scholarship and receiving some of the best feedback yet from profs overseas. Who knows what will transpire over the next few months.

In the meantime, Spokane is having a record-like winter. So much snow. It is breathtakingly  beautiful. You can ask my wife, every time we walk outside, I mutter, “It’s so beautiful.” It can be inconvenient, but the beauty is astounding. There’s something about snow on the ground that whispers solitude, stillness, peace. Sometimes my time with Jesus consists of nothing more than making coffee, opening the blinds, and watching the snow.

Because of the snow, there’s an expectation, especially from the post man, to shovel your sidewalks. I did not know this at first. After multiple notes on my mail, I know now!

For awhile, I did not have a snow shovel. We are trying to make ends meet and that seemed like another $20 that I could save. It has been a season of getting $200-dollared to death. That’s right, not $20-dollared to death, but $200. As my mom and dad remind me, “BJ, that’s just life.” Somehow those words really do help.

In the midst of all of this and a crazy work schedule, Mr. Bill, who lives with his mom and had open heart surgery five years ago, comes out every time it snows and shovels my sidewalk. He is an ordinary guy and to my knowledge thus far, is not a Christian. But he serves. He keeps serving. And through this, we have been able to give him some homebaked goods. Recently, we have had some “deeper” conversations.

His small act of kindness has been a fresh reminder for me. It is as if the Lord keeps saying, “These are the acts that move the world. These are the acts that touch and pry open people’s hearts.”

I teach philosophy at several schools including Gonzaga University. In reading and teaching philosophy, one of my favorite quotes is by David Hume. He writes, “Be a philosopher, but, amidst all of your philosophy, be still a man.”

The cry of my heart is to show Jesus every day in ways that Mr. Bill, an unbeliever, shows me. After all, God “showed his love among us” (1 John 4:9 NIV). It wasn’t just words.

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