Several mornings in a row Susan woke up feeling unmotivated and took her time getting out of bed. Buy the third morning she couldn’t even think of a reason she should get up and start her day. What was there to do? The flowerbeds were in great shape, no work needed there. Her house was spick and span since there was no one but herself to mess it up.
I could go sun myself on the beach, she thought, but I’ve done that three times already this week. I can hardly believe it, but loafing on the beach does get old after awhile. I’ve read all my new books. There’s nothing on TV in the morning but those silly game shows. I could drive into Bournemouth and do some shopping, but what do I really need? Nothing. I’ve no reason at all to get up; I can just roll over and sleep the morning away if I want to.
Then she sat up and gave herself a firm scolding. “This is enough, you loafer! Get yourself out of bed right this minute. Honestly, you’re getting to be like one of those patients we nurses gripe about, the ones who want to lie there and ring for Nurse all day. They moan about how tired they feel, or they’re too stiff to move. And we’re supposed to wait on them hand and foot while their muscles atrophy because they won’t move. That’s where you are headed, my girl, if you don’t smarten up.”
Susan had to smile as she thought how many times she longed to give one of those patients the same talking to. How many times hadn’t she “encouraged” some unwilling soul to get out of bed and move around, even if it hurt a bit, so they wouldn’t stiffen up? She slid her bare feet into her slippers and grabbed her housecoat. Ah, yes, one can always dish out good advice, but are you always willing to eat it off your own plate, Susie?
Half an hour later, showered and dressed, she was feeling more like herself. As she poured her coffee and sat down to breakfast, her mind turned over the possibilities for the day ahead. All these years dashing around on the ward, I’ve been telling myself that doing nothing would be so wonderful. Now here I am and it’s not so wonderful after all. I need to find something useful to do with myself. But what?
She glanced around the room and her eyes came to rest on the old Bible sitting on the shelf beside the microwave. It had belonged to her late husband, Harvey, and she treasured the old book as a memory of him.
She walked over and picked it up. “What advice would the Good Book have for me today?” Her words were as much a prayer as a question. The Psalms are always good for an encouraging read, aren’t they.
She sat down, opened the book, and found herself in the Gospel of Luke instead. She started to read and soon recognized the story of the Good Samaritan. She read through to the end of the account and came to the verse where the Pharisee asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
The question seemed to jump right off the page and slap her in the face.
She repeated the verse. “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” Suddenly she saw herself in that man. Wanting to mind his own business, undisturbed by other people and their woes.
Who are my neighbours? She glanced out the window toward the house next door. I honestly don’t have a clue! Here I am, surrounded by neighbours, but I’ve been so busy pleasing myself that I haven’t taken time for any of them. Perhaps they’d like to get to know me, too, but I may have come across as someone who doesn’t want to be bothered. Oh, dear!
Well, it’s high time. She shut the Bible. No man is an island, they say, and I’m starting to feel very marooned in my self-centered, leisurely life. Time to launch out and meet the neighbours.