Lamplighter: Def. ‘a person employed to light street gaslights by hand.’ This is obviously an old term from days gone by. Yet this person, by the very nature of their job, had to be active, everyday getting out there, rain or shine, summer or winter to light the lamps along the streets in town. In Lamplighter Estates, we ran into folks who both were active and those who decided to get active and help clean, paint and beautify not only their own homes but the community as well.
"I haven't worked this hard in a long time. "I feel so strong," quipped an older lady who came out to help. You just know she slept well that night! We had cheerleaders and a group of Young Lifers who were back again to help. All of these young people are great workers and give encouragement to everyone just by being there. One resident, a young single lady came out to help. She is the hardest worker and loves to do skirting. She really cares about people and was fun to work with.
Another resident who Impact Cares was able to impact during out time there was a veteran with a great family but who also struggles with some lingering effects from his service. Doing what he could to keep his home up, we were able to come alongside him and help him build a new deck and steps into his home that were safe to use. He and his wife homeschool their children and do great with that.
There were times in Lamplighter when the activity wasn’t the people but the local dogs! Loud and boisterous, snarling and growling, these canines made for a real challenge when trying to get to know some of the folks. We found you had to be persistent, gentle and just take the time to get past the ‘outer defenses’ at times. In the end, it was always worth it. I think sometimes those dogs are living pictures of our own lives at times. When we simply don’t want to interact with others, we snarl and growl hoping ‘that person’ will go away. Yet, with persistence, gentleness and kindness, one can move past these defenses and find inside a person who just needs someone to talk with.
In today’s world, you can get ‘parts’ replaced. One resident has had both knees and one shoulder replaced and struggles with other health issues. Yet, in spite of that, was willing to help clean up his home and helped prime the outside for painting. Impact Cares came alongside and finished painting and built the family a new set of steps and a short sidewalk for ease of access. There is no doubt that way back when, the ‘lamplighter’ needing a little nudge as well to get going, but watch out when they get moving, things happen!
‘Stay strong!’ This word of encouragement is from one of Impact’s team members to one particular resident of Lamplighter who struggles with the aftereffects of being in combat. Like the old time lamplighter, each of us needs to light a lamp so we can see that life is worth living, our families are worth loving and that the good Lord loves us more than we could possibly imagine!