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Pastor's wife: The beauty of a neighbor's sacrificial love

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Mr. Goodson thought his apples were poison.  Hold that thought.

A few weeks ago, my friend and neighbor, Paige, spotted beautiful apples on our other neighbor’s tree.  Since we both love the delicious fruit, she encouraged me to ask if we could pick some.  She had company that evening and couldn’t go.  I walked over and knocked. 

Mr. and Mrs. Goodson are a lovely older white-haired couple.  She is still a beautiful lady with a sweet smile.  He is a tender-hearted former tug boat captain. 

When they both came to the door, I threw Paige under the bus.  “Paige wanted me to come over and ask if we could pick some of your apples.  She wants to trade them for this yellow squash.”  I held up the big yellow squash she had sent with me to barter.

Mr. Goodson frowned, “Normally, I would say you could…”  He paused.  “Did you already promise them to someone else?” I interrupted.

“No…” he began slowly.  “I think they may be poison,” he finished grimly.

“What?!” I asked, completely stunned, instantly picturing Snow White and that poison apple.

Turns out, a few years ago, Mr. Goodson had planted a bush in his yard.  When it died, he planted the current apple tree right in the same hole.  To his surprise, the apple tree grew, but so did the plant he thought had died.  Now, he had a mutated something-or-other growing with possibly dangerous fruit. 

Digesting the information, I decided I no longer wanted the apples from his tree.  “Oh, well.  I wouldn’t want to take a chance,” I said.  Leaving the squash, I hurried to tell Paige.  She would flip!

We giggled as I spilled the story.  She thought of Snow White, too.  Neither of us was willing to take a chance.  We would find another tree.  Make that another non-poisonous tree. 

And then the unthinkable happened…

Days later, flash floods hit hard here wiping out communities, roads, and bridges.  The Goodson’s culvert washed out leaving only a small walk bridge.  When I stopped by Paige’s one evening, I saw Mr. Goodson on the other side of the creek.  “Hey, Mr. Goodson!” I yelled and waved. 

He called back.  It sounded like “Warble, warble, warble.”  “What?” I hollered, cupping my ear.

“I ate some of the apples!” he shouted.  My eyes were huge but he couldn’t see them from across the creek. 

“Ohmygoodness, Mr. Goodson!  Did you really?”

Mr. Goodson yelled across the water that he hadn’t wanted Paige to try any of the fruit because she is a young mother with two little ones.  He didn’t want me to try them because I am his pastor’s wife.  So, he decided to fry some of the mutated apples himself to see if they were ok.   

What an incredibly kind and sacrificial thing to do!  Mr. Goodson had taken his life in his hands to spare us.  Wow.  I thought of John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this: to lay down his life for his friends.”  How often does that happen? 

Actually, there was one other time.  Over two thousand years ago, the One and Only Son of God laid down His life for all of mankind.  “The Son of Man came to give His life as a ransom for many,” (Mark 10:45).  He did just that because of His great love for us. 

I’ve seen Mr. Goodson since he ate the apples.  He seems to be fine.  May the Lord be praised!  He took that whole “Love thy neighbor” to a whole other level.

___

Dawn Reed is a pastor's wife and newspaper columnist. Reach her at preacherswife7@yahoo.com.

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