PORCHING / CONVERSATIONS

The topic this morning is about conversations we wish we’d had. Or that we’d paid more attention to. Or that we wish we could have listened in on. Or with those who were hard to talk to. Is there still a chance for some that we wish we’d had?

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There was a story in the Los Angeles Times on 27 February, 2002, about a woman who was rescued after being trapped in her own home for nine days.  “No one heard her screams.  No one heard her cries for food and water.  No one knew this wheelchair-dependent diabetic was alone.”  No one except her husband, Agustin.  But she had gone with him to the emergency room a week and a half earlier because he was in great pain.  Before he was rushed into surgery he had told his wife to take a taxi home.  Soon after returning home, Amparo fell and couldn’t get back up.  She yelled over and over again for help, but no one heard her.  When Agustin became conscious enough to speak, he explained that Amparo was home alone, and the hospital staff contacted police.  An officer found her stuck between the bed and the wall, and her first words were to ask about her husband.  They were soon reunited.  When interviewed, her next-door neighbor said “I feel so bad.  We have lived here for years, but never talked.”

That is SO SAD! I’ve found myself hoping that there’s no one whom I could have kept in touch with better and perhaps made a difference in their life. I had a wonderful visit with my “last Aunt,” Rhea, on Saturday as I was delivering Halloween boxes “all over creation” (ha). She’s 88, and once she’s gone, it’s “our turn” to be the “oldest ones left” in our family. And I have to admit that there are MANY conversations I wish I’d had, that I’d paid more attention to, and so on.

There was another article about something similar which happened in a Massachusetts neighborhood in 1993.  It was a working-class neighborhood, full of good people.  They tried to help their reclusive neighbor, mowing her lawn and collecting her mail.  Then, to their horror, they discovered she’d been lying dead in her kitchen for four years!  Some said things like “people have their own lives.  They go their own ways.”  One resident said that neighbors didn’t want to get involved with their neighbors.  He said that “neighbors aren’t like they were 20 years ago.”

Is he right?  Is that true?  The article related that police found the decomposed body lying in a six-foot heap of trash she had let accumulate in her kitchen.  It is believed that she died of natural causes about four years earlier; that’s when her bank transactions ended.  Police found a telephone on the floor nearby, as though the 73 year-old woman had tried to call for help.  Neighbors who never saw much of her anyway inquired about four years ago after they hadn’t seen her in a while.  One of her brothers, who wasn’t close to her, told police she had gone in a nursing home.  Life went on in the neighborhood, with one man mowing her lawn and another taking care of a pile of mail that built up before the post office began returning it to senders.  A utility company was called to tend to broken water pipes.

I’m not trying to be a “downer” this morning, but I just wonder if there are way too many other stories which are similar to these (and much more recent).  Have we lost the meaning of the word and feeling “neighbor?”  I pray about being a better neighbor. I’d give myself maybe a C- or D+. Not too great, is it. Did either story bring anything to your mind?  Not that you have been quite so neglectful of neighbors, but have you remembered a time when you felt some regret at having missed a chance to talk to someone who maybe needed you, or you needed them?  Sometimes we can be so close to someone and yet so separated.  And something may happen which causes us to feel bad about missing a conversation.

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Most of us can probably remember an experience where we were “right there,” and yet for some reason a conversation we had hoped for just didn’t happen.  If you’ve thought of someone you wish you had talked to, could you still make it happen?  Is there still time?  Porching doesn’t actually have to happen on a porch (although it’s such a wonderful place for a good, comfortable conversation). See if you can think of someone who needs you to “go-a-porching” to them.  Have a wonderful Monday!  (Even though we poke fun at this day….)

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12 thoughts on “PORCHING / CONVERSATIONS

  1. Kate

    I, sadly, have a story of a missed conversation. I was 15 years old, and at a stake dance. Something (well, I should have known by then it was the Spirit!) told me to go talk to a young man who was about my age and who had been in my ward when we were younger. I didn’t follow the prompting, claiming I was ‘too shy’ to go talk to him.
    A few weeks later he died. The fact that I didn’t talk to him that night will always haunt me. However, it has also made me more aware of the people around me, and I try very hard not to let conversations go unsaid anymore. I don’t know how well I’m succeeding, but I want everyone to leave my presence feeling uplifted and loved.

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  2. Just Lindy

    With all that I am going through right now, I feel my Heavenly Father’s love through my friends and family. Staying close to them and having the opportunity to just sit and chat has been wonderful for me. I am usually on the go. I’m learning to sit here on my “porch” for a while. I sit and pray more. I read my scriptures more. I ponder. I watch Netflix :0)

    I don’t know how long I have to sit on my porch, but I will glean all I can from this experience. I will want to sit on my porch more often after this ordeal is over.

    Thank you, MEE

    Just Lindy

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  3. Lucy Staples

    OK, I was horrified by the stories…can such things really happen? Then, an instant later, I was smiling at the cartoon caption, “Before we got fire, we used to talk to each other.” Ouch! It all hits so close to home. We hate it, on the one hand, that such things can actually happen (and that we might in some unimaginable yet very real way have contributed to the neglect), and yet we live in a culture that can still find humor in our seeming inability to connect with one another. How will we ever get back to ground zero, to where we should have begun to care more instead of less? My own experiences with similar events are still too painful to share, reminding me that even an awareness of such a lack of caring makes us part of the problem and not the solution. Thank you, MEE, for shining a bright light on a current weakness in our shared system of values. May it be a wake up call to each of us to look a little little closer, listen a bit more carefully, and open our hearts to possibilities for being more our brother’s keeper.

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      The stories horrified me too, and I also smiled at the “fire” cartoon. I wish there weren’t so many in this world suffering so deeply — so lonely, hungry, frightened, etc. I love you SO much. I’m glad you like that talk by Elder Gong as much as I do. Incredible. Love, MEE

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  4. camille

    I know someone I would live to have a real conversation with vs a run by chit chat. Though I really love those too. :@)

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  5. Jeffrey Anderson

    Mee you are right. I have had many of those moments sad to say. Let us all turn over a new leaf especially with the winter months just ahead. (Love the cartoon, It sends out a powerful message). Your old friend Jeff

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  6. Debbie

    Great article. Gave me lots to think about. I can see myself becoming the recluse. I need to forsee myself sometimes to go do things. Thank goodness for a good husband who pushes me when I need it and for callings in the church that stretch me and get me out of my comfort zone. Now I’m off to text (ahh yes,another story in itself,texting!) my bachelor brother who I don’t tall to near enough. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

    Reply

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