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Be a Crackpatcher

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A Crackpatcher is another word for someone who uses God’s gifts of hospitality and mercy. If you'd like to become one, check out the following suggestions. You will be amazed how God will bless your everyday life!

1) Slow down. Someone driving their life at freeway speed will never notice cracks.

2) Give. Maybe you're a little shy. Proverbs tells us that a gift opens up doors for opportunities. Something as small as sending a neighbor some leftover cake, or giving them a ride to a meeting, means a lot.

3) Listen: You may be the only "ear" a lonely newcomer has all day.

4) Think personal: Don't overlook a one-on-one relationship. Jesus had only twelve disciples. A mega ministry will never take the place of a true friend who loves with God's love.

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Halloween and the Crackpatcher

By Carol G. Stratton
Guest Writer “And what do you do?” inquires the Salesperson of the Year. She and I, dinner partners, am making small talk at my husband’s annual sales meeting.

Here we go again, I think, trying to sum up my life in a few profound words.

Times like this make me want to get a paying job. I can tell her I’m an agoraphobic with shopaholic tendencies. No. I don’t think she’ll understand my ironic sense of humor. I could just tell her the truth: I’m a Crackpatcher.

I don’t mend sidewalks or re-grout tile. I know nothing about the masonry trade. What I have is a persistent inner voice directing me to look into life’s cracks.

When I find someone who’s stuck, I grab an arm and try to hoist them out of the crevasse. Then I apply the best filling compound available, friendship.

It started with a mailbox. My family and I had moved into a new house in a new subdivision. All was complete in the neighborhood except the designer mailboxes. They hadn’t arrived. The builder, knowing we need to get mail, told us to purchase temporary mailboxes until the permanent mailboxes came. A month later they arrived, uniformly decorated with wild birds. Sandy Schmitt, town newcomer, ignored the edict to install the new box. She liked her dinosaur one, very appropriate for a former Smithsonian Institute archeologist. That was the beginning.

A small controversy began percolating. Neighbors prized the mediocre and sameness of matching mailboxes. They didn’t prize a rebellious home owner and tongues began to cluck.

Intrigued with this rugged individual of suburbia, I knocked on her door to introduce myself. She ushered me in with a friendly grin.

As we sipped coffee, I discovered she hadn’t grown up locally. Sandy, like me, hailed from out west. While she showed me her flowerbed mix of eclectic and flamboyant wildflowers, I thought of the proper petunias and marigolds planted in other front yards. This gal’s not a cookie-cutter suburbanite. She’ll shake things up.

Halloween arrived and many women hung tasteful autumn floral sprays on their front doors. Sandy, however, displayed an outrageous collection of witches and wizards on her lawn. Goblins and devils shrieked through the loudspeaker on her porch along with R.I.P. tombstones of her family. “Outrageous,” cried some neighbors.

One woman took up the challenge to put Sandy on notice. She marched up to the front door, her prepared speech perched on the tip of her tongue, thinking someone had finally welcomed her to the neighbor hood, threw open the door with glad anticipation. No such luck. The woman, Bible in hand, instead of a pan of welcoming brownies, notified Sandy of her inappropriate and very offensive decorations.

Sandy wore a puzzled look as she relayed the incident to me. In her ignorance, goblins and demons were creatures from a fairytales. She asked,” Why would anyone care how I decorate my lawn? Don’t these people ever have fun?”

The Christian Cringe Factor went off in my head as I listened. Pharisee Alert!

I didn’t want to have anything to do with the righteous rejecters. If I could only find a gopher hole to hide in. I didn’t favor celebrating ghouls. Still, I felt ashamed of my neighbors’ condemnation.

That did it. I decide to befriend my neighbor. From that day on, we roller-bladed and took our kids to the park. While our daughters played dress-up, I offered suggestions for a good pediatrician and admired her extensive garden. Her herb garden was to die for.

When spiritual topics came up, I kept things low-key. Other than a few references to answered prayer, I just tried to be a friend. In some ways, I had more in common with Sandy than I did with the Christian women. Living in this tight-knit community, I too, had come "late to the party".

Slowly I broke the ice with my other neighbors and made some acquaintances, I had two definite advantages over Sandy. I had the correct mailbox and I attended church. Sandy, shunned like a pagan leper, didn’t seem to notice the snubs. I did.

Later, a fter moving across town, I saw less of Sandy. Busy families kept our paths from crossing. When the phone rang one night, I was surprised to hear her voice.

“I know you are kind of a religious person so I thought I’d call you.”

“What’s up?” I inquired.

Sandy paused before choking up. “It’s my father-in-law. He’s been diagnosed with cancer.”

“I’m so sorry,” I replied.

“Well, I know you pray and I was wondering if you’ll pray for him.”

Years have passed since I’ve talked to Sandy. We’ve both moved out of state, but I still grin when I remember the rebel of Hunters’ Green subdivision. Sandy taught me a lot about reaching out to people. I learned how God puts certain people in our lives for a reason as I learned to choose friendship over neighborhood approval. I decided to become more available as I heard the quiet voice of God saying, “Pay attention to life’s cracks. You need to be there to help pull someone out.”

Jerking myself back to the present, I notice the Salesperson of the year waiting to hear what I do.

“I’m a-stay-at-home mother of four,” I reply. “And I’m also a Crackpatcher.”

“Why I think that’s just wonderful. Aren’t you a dear.” she answers. “I think everyone should be involved in volunteer work.” I saw her hand move towards me. . . Surely she’s not going to pat me on the head, I thought.

I find my husband and mention it’s time to go. “I need to get home and start patching up some cracks I’ve seen.”

He gives me a puzzled look.

“It’s okay. I think I just got my calling.”

Would you like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Find out how.

Do you have questions about God and salvation? Learn more here.

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Carol G. Stratton is a freelance writer in Wheaton. She’s published in Women’s Touch, Purpose, Fandangle, InTouch, and Christian Communicator magazines. She writes for children. She is available to speak to women on friendship and moving, having moved with her family of six, nineteen times. Visit her Web site:

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