Long ago and far away, I had a neighbor who was very strange. She was attractive and married to a handsome guy who held a high position with a record company. They had two children and a live in nanny.
She seemed ethereal, kind of like a woods elf, in her filmy, barely there dresses and tops. She once told me she bought many of her clothes in the lingerie department. That was my first clue.
The next one came when my precious spouse came in from the back yard rather flustered. Seems our neighbor had forgotten to clothe herself when she came to her back door to wave at him.
Clue after clue presented itself as we watched this mysterious family eventually fall apart.
Casual visits in the front yard seemed pleasant enough, but over time actions spoke louder than words. A screaming match between the neighbor, and her sister landed the visiting sibling on our door step screaming for help. Before we could open the door (the delay was intentional) our petite neighbor pounced and forced her back to her house.
The next day we got a visit from her husband, thanking my hubby for the football souvenirs he had given his little boy. He brought our girls collector records from his studio and a request that we ignore some of the things that went on at his house. Most of the turmoil, he said, was the result of her addiction.
Apparently she couldn’t be trusted with a car or money. The only time she was allowed away from the house with the kids was when the limo came and took them to a celebrity spa near San Diego. I felt sorry for him until I met his dad some months later.
Cheryl asked me if I would help her prepare for a family gathering they were having at their home. My southern upbringing kicked in- the one that says neighbors help each other- and I agreed. I made phone calls to rental companies and caterers and on the day of the event, I went over and helped. That’s when I met her father-in-law who made my spirit cringe. I’ll just say there was darkness about him.
After that, I wondered which came first the addiction and then the family chaos or spiritual chaos that sent her to addiction. Several days after the event, I was invited for lunch and she thanked me for helping. As we sat by the pool she told me some scary, sad stuff and I told her The Good News.
It was an alien concept for her and her clouded mind could not embrace His grace. After a rambling response, she said,” You know, I’m only capable of what I can do.”
Well, the whole point of grace is what He has done, not what we can do, but how do you argue with that kind of logic?
In Mother’s journal she wrote, “There is no telling – there is no limit- to what He can do through you, provided you do not seek your own glory.”
I use Cheryl’s quote often, but I’ve added two words, “I am only capable of what I can do -through Him.”