“ In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

– Matthew [5:16]


At seven each morning two men arrive at the tennis court across the street from my house. Each morning they tend to the court and the grounds around its area. Each morning they drive forty-five minutes to do their job. Each morning I hear their voices of camaraderie. They serve without complaint and dutifully do their job. They always smile and say “hi” when I greet them.

They also tend to the fourteen hundred acres of natural beauty that surround our homes off the coast of North Carolina. When I first arrived, I thought there was an army of people who did the work of maintaining the beauty of our small village community. But I learned later it was just these two men. They work dutifully each day from seven to six, whether in the oppressive heat of the summer or the cold biting winds of the winter. They are here silently doing their job.

When we see them and try to supplement their meager income with a gift of our appreciation, they won’t accept unless both men are present. To which they then share equally, carefully dividing up the small gift.

Before hurricane Florence severely damaged the coast of North Carolina, one of them, Carmella, had taken a long and hard-earned vacation. When he heard about the devastation, he shortened his vacation and came back to help with the reconstruction. Driving through a long night, that required many turns and detours to avoid the many closed roads, he arrived that morning ready to help.

They came to our country from a distant land in South America, seeking freedom and a better life. You won’t see their life stories on CNN or Fox news. Their kindness and dedication don’t make great news stories. They are legal immigrants, like my great grandfathers and mothers. They came to our country, not to harm and maim, but to have a chance at a life where they could be free.

Their lives are much harder than most. They struggle to keep their cars on the road and bread for their families. They work long hours doing the work of far more than we should expect from two men.

But they show up every day in front of my house. Every day, they smile and wave. Every day, they dutifully go about their rounds. Every day, they do far more than they are paid. Every day, I see the beacon of their light shining, as a reminder of how I should live.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Joakim Honkasalo