more to do

Our walls were thin, which probably explained why the rent was cheap. J and I lived on a bottom floor apartment as newlyweds. And every evening, as dependable as the six o’clock news, the music began. Sinatra and his cohorts Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis Jr., and sometimes Rosemary Clooney belted out classics that dripped down the vents from the upstairs, one bedroom, to ours. We heard a static filled record player as the needle scratched vinyl, repeating a crooner’s line over and over.  In the beginning, we rolled our eyes and thought it bizarre. But as the days and months wore on, the big band era was just another noise as common as the washing machine and the built-in microwave. We grew to enjoy the old melodies.  

I eventually met the man who lived upstairs. He’d lost his wife to cancer. His deep-set wrinkles and white furry brow revealed a life long-lived. We’d often meet outside where I’d follow behind a rambunctious puppy and he would stand grounded with an obedient terrier at his heels. I began to leave leftovers or day old sweets on his doorstep before I hurried off to work. And by the afternoon, he’d always return the plate, shiny and clean and with a scribbled note of thanks.  

But on a fall evening, when his record player should have been circling, it was the blare of sirens that rang into our little place we called home. And he was gone. His death slipped in quiet, leaving behind a hushed, vacant apartment.  

We really weren’t that different. We both were moving ahead, feet shuffling from day-to-day. Life has a way of nudging us forward without needing our permission. And often I want to suspend it in mid-air, to keep children from growing a bit older, to stay in this age of 30’s, to settle into comfort. But God gently urges us on because there is more to do, more to say and more to live.

Linking up this week with Michelle at Graceful & Jen at Finding Heaven 

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16 thoughts on “more to do

  1. That would have made me sad, but how precious to have had that connection with him in his final months. And the above commenter is right – your writing is absolutely beautiful. (As are the photos).

  2. What a beautiful post. I love how you tell this story of everyday connections and how something as simple as the music in the background can touch our lives and trigger strong memories.

    It sounds like you were a wonderful neighbor to this older gentleman. I’m so glad I read your words today. 🙂

  3. So beautifully written. I love that you took the time to meet him, and bless him with those acts of kindness that probably meant so much to him.

  4. Makes me take to heart what it really means to live in the present — not rushing off or abandoning or sitting in annoyance, but gracefully receiving the fullness of the moment. Thank you for this story.

  5. awww….the beauty of life,
    intertwined with the passing of time and the moments that live us standing breathlessly still, in awe. Thank you, Amanda-
    ~Stacy

  6. I know this is true (more to do…) but sometimes I want to grab the right now with both hands and just sit.

    I love so many things just like they are right now. My kids crawling in bed with me on Saturdays, date nights on the back deck…I know there are loads of good things to come, but oh, right here is pretty perfect.

  7. I love how as a young wife you were sheltering others. How thrilling to be part of a man’s last days. Things don’t stay the same and so many times through the years I’d want to freeze time. But each season brings a joy of its own and memories from the last are hidden in our hearts.

  8. Hi Amanda! I came across your blog because I saw the comment you left on Amy Bennett’s blog about my (and my husband’s) Charlotte ministry Speak Up. Venturing over to your site, I am impressed with your writing (and did you do these photos?). Would you be interested in volunteering for us from time to time (very minimal and flexible time commitment)? Either way, great to “meet” you! –Lana Shaw

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