Front lawn

Pastoral Messages | September 24, 2019

Three-year-old Quinn Waters lives in a suburban home just outside Boston, Massachusetts. Like many kids his age, Quinn loves things like going to the park, swimming at the nearby pool, or trying to keep up with his older siblings.

Unfortunately, this past summer, he wasn’t able to do much of any of those things. Quinn was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after his third birthday. He quickly underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant late this spring. But with a weakened and compromised immune system, Quinn needed to stay inside his home to avoid any contact with potentially dangerous germs.

“Trying to keep a 3-year-old inside on a summer day, let alone for three months, is nearly impossible,” Quinn’s dad said.

Quinn spent many days siting in the front room of his home, looking out the window and wishing he could be outside. His connection to the greater world became limited to whoever happened to pass by the front of the house. So different family members would come by the front lawn to say hello or make funny faces through the window.

Before long, neighbors noticed what was happening and they, too, showed up in front of the house. They would juggle or do handstands, all in an attempt to entertain Quinn. Soon, police officers and firetrucks were driving slowly by with their lights on, a team of Irish step dancers performed a routine, or a parade of puppies came to bark hello.

Day after day, people drove from as far away as Canada to offer a few moments of fun on Quinn’s front lawn. A water balloon fight. A youth theater group. Dressing up as a favorite superhero. Playing guitar. And Quinn would stand in the front window, greeting them with a joyful smile.

What seems so particularly beautiful about this story is the way the people meet Quinn, quite literally, right where he’s at. They know they can’t heal his sickness. They can’t make the circumstances of what he and his family are going through disappear. But they can show up. And share who they are with these dear people. If this isn’t the love of God personified, I’m not sure what is.

So often, when Jesus encounters sick or hurting people, his first instinct is to draw near to them. Yes, he may heal them. But he also listens to them. Engages them in conversation. Empathizes with their pain.

I’m convinced there is incredible restorative power in simple presence. God invites us to offer a certain healing to others by moving close to one another. Showing up right where they are. In schools or hospitals. At churches or in homes. Maybe even on a front lawn.

-Katy Warren

10 Comments on “Front lawn”

  • Marcia Willi

    September 30, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Pastor Katy,
    This was an inspiring, awesome story of love personified. Even though when I first started reading it, I was apprehensive. Loving others where they’re @

  • Bonnie Fox

    September 27, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Thank you for a beautiful story. ????

  • Birgit Maass

    September 27, 2019 at 10:51 am

    What an amazing story, thanks for sharing. Such an outpouring of support, love and caring. It made me think of the impact the WAVE at University of Iowa football games makes during the season. The presence of thousands of people making the simple gesture to wave at all the kids in the hospital windows.

  • Victoria Felger

    September 27, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Oh Pastor Katy, you just hit it out of the park again! We all so need to know that we don’t always need to bring flowers, books or casseroles….a kind word, a smile and just being there makes all the difference! Thank you!!!

  • Karen Rathje

    September 27, 2019 at 7:41 am

    It really is the little things that make a difference is a persons life. Thanks for sharing this story of wonderful small deeds that had a BIG impact for a little boy.

  • Kathy Shepard

    September 26, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder.

  • Sheila Mesick

    September 26, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Bless those who met Quinn where he was at by showing up at his window . Using your words Katy, these actions that gives life to the words restorative power in simple presence. That simple presence is indeed love in action. Thank you for sharing this story demonstrating the many ways hope can be shared.

  • Vida Luth

    September 26, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    There really are wonderful people in the world! Thank you for sharing!

  • Karen Bernick

    September 26, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Dan told me to read your story — great one, Pastor Katy.

    “What seems so particularly beautiful about this story is the way the people meet Quinn, quite literally, right where he’s at.” Love that.

  • Caprice Berry

    September 26, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    I loved reading this story that you told. It really showed the love by just being there for Quinn and his family.

Leave a Comment