Years ago, I had a dear neighbor, Annie Smith, who loved children. She was an older adult, married, with no children of her own. Once or twice a week Annie would come to my house for a visit. As she greeted my toddler sons, her voice rang out loud with an excited “Halloo,” followed by hugs and kisses. After we walked into the family room, Annie often sat on the carpet and played with my little boys as if she were a youngster herself.
Until this moment, I had never thought how this dear neighbor must have been in my subconscious when Miss Sullivan tapped on my heart eager to be a character in Ashley’s Gift.
Although Annie and Miss Sullivan are completely different in personality and physical traits, it is no surprise that Miss Sullivan has become a favorite character among readers. We all need a Miss Sullivan at least once in our lifetime. For sure, we need to be a good neighbor. Romans 15:2 (ESV) says, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
I wonder had I taught my little boys to honor Annie with a card and maybe cake on Grandparents Day, her birthday and other occasions, would Annie have felt “built up” especially as a friend and surrogate grandmother?
I can only hope when I had shared my home and young sons with this dear neighbor, years ago, that Annie’s heart was filled with more joy than I realize.