In Romans 12:13 Paul exhorts us to be ready to help when God's people are in need. "Always be eager to practice hospitality," he writes.
This Scripture came alive for me one evening when my next-door neighbor *Ramona had met me in the foyer of her house as I pushed open the half-ajar front door, my own four-year-old son in tow. Upstairs I could hear her boys sobbing.
"Thanks for coming, Renee," Ramona cried. "Susan drove home drunk. I can't take it anymore!"
"Why you call her?" From the living room, Susan, Ramona's partner, slurred as quietly as she could. The leather cushions gave as she stumbled down onto the couch.
"I shouted at her," Ramona continued. "I can't take it anymore, and I scared the boys."
"What do you want me to do?" I asked.
Any thoughts of this being an easily solved emergency had begun to fizzle.
"Could you stay with them for a bit?"
My son and I walked slowly up the stairs while Ramona retreated to the living room to tend to Susan. In the boys' bedroom, seven-year-old Cam's ribs heaved while he rocked back and forth, tears pouring out. He could barely look me in the eye. His wails punctured his older brother Neil's flow of words: "She drove home drunk, Renee," Neil said. "She could have killed somebody. We're scared." His restless fingers arranged and re-arranged his lineup of figurines and spun his planet mobile as he shot me sideways glances.1