Tag Archives: neighbors

Incidental Anger Management 2.0

I had a blog all ready to go entitled “Incidental Anger Management”. It was all about those people in the world that just seemed to go through their day . . . mad. Their P.O.’d pistol is all cocked, locked and ready to unload on the next person that crosses them with even the most insignificant “wrongness”. And, as many of you know, I work within the wild jungles of retail customer service, so this type of subject is near and dear to my heart. I was all up in their grill with my self-righteous piety and “respect” this and “patience” that. I felt gooooood writing it. I felt all high and mighty in my condemnation. Then I looked at it after I’d finished and thought . . .

That’s not right.

So I worked on it . . .

And worked on it . . .

And worked on it . . .

Then, after I’d worked on it some more, I stepped back, looked at it again, and I thought . . .

That’s still not right.

Then Sunday came and I’m sitting in church listening to Pastor Mike talk about “community” and it hits me . . .

He’s talking to me! He’s talking about community. My community. Not just a community of believers, but the real, honest-to-goodness community around us: our friends; our neighbors; the people we work with; the people we work for. And in doing so, he’s rewriting my blog.

He says, “In community, we learn how to love.”

Honestly, there are days when I go to work and I genuinely don’t feel like loving my customers: Especially the ones that come in already mad and looking for an outlet—not a resolution, an outlet.

And you know who you are.

He says, “In community, we learn that love is a choice, not a feeling.”

So, in spite of (or sometimes because of) circumstances, I have to choose to love you. Yet, there’s also another choice I’ve made; the choice to follow Christ. So that, in choosing to love you, I can enter that choice neither alone nor unarmed:

1 Corinthians 16: 13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And do everything with love. 

1 John 3: 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

To me, there’s something calming within those words. I don’t know of too many people who have spent a majority of their employed lives working within the public sector—whether in retail, teaching, public safety, support services, etc.—who don’t have a definite opinion on . . . humanity; people; “them“.  But love is a choice, not a feeling. You don’t have to be a Christ follower to understand that. Still, it’s something we have to learn how to do, and it’s something we have to continually practice. There are times that we’ll feel we’ll never master it. That’s not the point. The point is to choose . . .

And choose again . . .

And again . . .

That choice may not matter to them . . .

It’s not for them anyway . . .

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Our Nosy Neighbors

Do you have one of those neighbors who are always keeping one eye out the window, watching you, watching your kids, knowing their every move?

Yeah, we’ve got one of those, too.

Don’t you hate that?

Our daughter Emma was six years old at the time. One early morning, Emma shuffled out the front door in her little, pink footy-pajamas to pick up the morning paper that she’d spotted from the window. She was out there just long enough to pick up the paper, and for the door to shut (and lock) behind her.

Our neighbors, nosy as they are, were looking out their window and just happened to see her. They watched as she picked up the paper. As the door shut. As she knocked. As she rang the doorbell.

And they watch as nobody answered. And nobody answered. And nobody answered.

So my nosy neighbor watched as his meddlesome wife comes out of their house and asks if our daughter is okay. He watched as she knocks and rings the doorbell for herself…

And he watched as nobody answered. Again. Still.

So my nosy neighbor and his meddlesome wife take my daughter back to their house, where they have a granddaughter that’s a year younger than Emma. And they feed her breakfast. And they talk to her. And they let her play with their granddaughter’s toys. Until later, as they’re looking out their windows again—nosy as they are—and they finally see movement inside our house. That’s when they came over to let the panic-stricken parents know that they have our child. And she’s safe. And happy. And fed. And safe. (Did I mention safe?)

Don’t you hate that?

Our lovingly innocent six-year-old li’l girl would’ve been just fine in that span of time. It’s not like anything bad would’ve happened, right? Right?!

Yeah, right. Between her knocking on our front door and all the time spent at our neighbor’s, she was gone for AN HOUR AND A HALF!

And for the record, I think our neighbors are absolute saints. Thank God they were looking out the window at just the right time to see Emma in her predicament. Thank God they have a granddaughter of their own who is one of our daughter’s best friends. Thank God they have the caring demeanor to take her in, feed her some breakfast, and let her play with her friend’s toys—even if that friend lay sacked out on the couch due to the early hour. Thank God they have the patience to wait for an hour and a half while we obliviously wake ourselves up to whatever the day unfolds.

So…

Do you have one of those neighbors?

Thank God if you do!

P.S. Just so you know, my wife and I are not horrible parents (especially my wife . . . hi honey!) and our daughter does not go wandering off on a daily basis. Usually, she’ll go down to the end of our block, round the corner and look back, a) to see if we’re really watching her (We are), and b) to see if we’re still going to stop her (We do).

In fact, since this little episode with the neighbors, she won’t even go out the front door without one of us or her big brother tagging along, “C’mon mommy, let’s go!!”

Ya gotta love that!