(Published May 3, 2007, 3:21 p.m.)
There is a neighbor of mine, who lives several blocks away, who must be struggling.
She has a teenage handicapped child. I am friends with their landlord. When I visited their landlord, the landlord confided in me that they were struggling again and their rent was behind by two weeks.
The landlord said they almost always pay on time, and you can tell they are having a hard time when they do not pay on time. In the past, the landlord has called the mother and she assures the landlord that she will get the rent in, and always apologizes that she is late.
The mother asks the landlord to please not evict them; they are doing the best they can. The mother has been renting there for three years and the landlord does not call anymore when they are late. The landlord feels terrible about it. The mother does eventually always get the rent in.
The landlord is presently considering selling, since he is just making ends meet. Would you be able to look in on them and see how they are doing?
I called the telephone number provided, but the phone was disconnected.
I went and visited on one of the few sunny days we have had.
I knocked on the door and a lady of medium stature greeted me. I introduced myself, but the lady did not know about The Time Is Now to Help.
After our introductions and initial conversation, I told her a concerned neighbor had written to us on her behalf. I shared with her my childhood spent in poverty. This allowed us to be more open about her financial dilemma. She opened up about the state of her finances, specifically rent and utilities.
The woman looked at me and paused. She was trying to sort her thoughts, and through her tears she was trying to figure out how to continue.
At that moment, I heard some commotion coming from the next room. As I began to look in the direction of the room, the mother said, "That is my son." I asked if I could meet him. She paused and said, "One moment please." She went into the next room and was talking to her son. I could hear her, since it was such a small area, coaxing her son to come out and meet me. The mother came back and said, "Maybe some other time. He is very shy."
I later found out the son, 19, was very much an introvert. His mother said he was very outgoing and lively as a little boy, but became very shy and withdrawn as time went on.
The mother did have a job, and after reviewing her budget, it was apparent that covering her minimal expenses was a continuous struggle. I complimented her on her very clean and orderly house. She said, "Thank my son. He cleans the house."
I spoke loud enough for him to hear, saying his name first, to get his attention, "What a wonderful job you do keeping the house so clean."
I heard clapping coming from the other room. I looked at the mother and raised my eyes, with a smile. She smiled back and said, "He is thanking you for the compliment. Your words made him very happy."
The mother then told me to come with her outside.
She said, "You know itÕs spring cleaning time outside also." We went outside and she asked me what I saw. I noticed the yard was very clean. All the sticks were picked up; there were no leftover leaves. Their yard really stood out. The mother once again gave full credit to her son. I could appreciate the hard work her son had put into cleaning up the yard.
Then, I had an idea. I remembered when I was young, I was very shy.
When I was trying to make money to help my mom, I found there were a few jobs I could do that didnÕt require a lot of intervention with people. These jobs included shoveling snow off walks and driveways, mowing and cleaning up lawns in the spring and fall, etc.
Doing these jobs only entailed a few sentences of communication with the people. You do not have to be autistic to be shy; it is a natural trait for many people.
I know of a few elderly people who need yard work assistance, who would be willing to pay a few dollars for some much-needed help. I asked the mother if she thought her son would be up for picking up a couple jobs.
She said, "I donÕt know." I walked to the next room, addressed the son, complimented him on his work,and asked him if he would like a job doing his own business, since he was 19. He seemed curious.
After a few weeks of working together, a handful of jobs were set up. The people were appreciative of the exquisite work he had done. The people knew the money given to the boy was helping them out in their situation.
I visited another time. The mother stated she felt her son had found himself. She said, "He looks forward to going to work. He insists on paying for his room and board." They are working on their budget as a real team.
The mother went into the other room and grabbed a piece of paper. She showed me their budget and pointed to the extra money they had for the month. The son clapped continuously for about 30 seconds.
The mother started to cry happy tears. She walked over to her son and hugged him. He stopped clapping and hugged his mother back. I could see that tears were forming in his eyes. I could not help myself either, and I soon joined them.
I am happy to share with you that the son continues to be able to apply his purpose to help the one person who has stood by his side, his loving mother.
Health and happiness,
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