About six years ago we moved to a new neighborhood. Since arriving, we’ve tried to be friendly with our neighbors and show kindness. We greet them with a smile, ask how they are, and several times we prepared pizza and delivered it to them as a sign of friendship. We thought we were doing well in showing our neighbors we care. But then we met Nilda.
Nilda’s two adult grandchildren are both disabled with a genetic degenerative disease. In order to help with their care, she decided to move in with her daughter’s family. Caring for physically disabled people creates a lot of work and stress, and no one would blame this family for focusing on their own problems and challenges. But not so with Nilda. She is the most hospitable person I have ever known, and there always seem to be at least one, if not two, sets of visitors at their home. As previous visitors get up and start leaving, new visitors enter the house—there is a constant flow of people.
Drinks and cakes are always handy, or snacks and simple dishes are prepared in minutes. In spite of the challenges and difficulties this family is facing, there’s a joyful and optimistic atmosphere.
Even our dog, who occasionally visits her with us, doesn’t leave without a bowl of water and a special dog treat or two. In fact, our dog recognizes Nilda at a distance and can’t wait to see what yumminess she has on hand this time. Nilda pays attention to the smallest details about her visitors.
I don’t know if a few paragraphs can do justice to the joy, kindness, loving concern, help, and hospitality that she bestows on others, but I was reminded of Nilda when I read the following quote:
Our Lord … tells us that the little things we do—feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, showing hospitality to the stranger, visiting the sick, and the other nameless ministries of love of which we take no account—if done in the right spirit, are accepted as though they had been actually done to Christ himself! … The best thing we can do with our love is not to watch for a chance to perform some one fine act that will shine before the world—but to fill all the days and hours with little kindnesses which will make countless hearts nobler, stronger, and happier.—J. R. Miller