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The Old Woman in the Window

At first, I did not notice her. 

She sat so still, there at her kitchen window, staring out at the passers-by without moving. Her flat was on the ground floor of the Soviet-era apartment building in front of ours. I had probably passed her by many times, without seeing her. Then, one day, I did.

I smiled and waved, and she looked startled, confused. She did not wave back, not that day. But over time, she began to respond. A little smile, a little wave, a little nod of her head with its grey, wispy hair. She rarely went outside. It was far too cold for her, and anyway, she could barely walk. I wondered if she was lonely.

One time I asked her if maybe she needed help? She replied, “I’m all right. I don’t need help. It’s just so nice when there is at least someone who smiles at me and greets me. I live here all alone, so that makes my day very happy.”

This, I thought, this is a small thing. But not for her.

It has now been a few years that I have been greeting the old woman at the window. Now, when our eyes meet, our whole family waves at her and we all yell hello, even though she cannot hear our voices through the window. She waves back and smiles happily. From time to time, she opens the window and gives our children chocolates. 

We don’t seem to have done anything special in our ministry here. We haven’t brought hundreds of people to Christ, we haven’t saved people from hunger, we have not shown any faith superpowers. Still, we have loved one old woman through her window, and when a person feels that someone cares about them, the heart of Jesus is shining through. We feel thankful for that.  

I hope this story will warm your heart, and maybe encourage you to think about those who need you, who need your joy. Go and love them, even from a distance.

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