I’m part of a group called Five Minute Friday , where they give a word prompt and you write on that word for five minutes. Today’s word prompt was “neighbour”. Enjoy and leave a comment!
I stomped up the stairs to my neighbours house when I was four months pregnant with my first. I was so angry. Those 18 year old “rig pigs” were driving Ferrari cars, carrying big screen T.Vs into their house, bringing home girls, having parties and all of the judgements I was making towards them now had a firm hold when they did something unthinkable. They smoked. It was a non smoking home and we were renting the basement suite, they were in the upper level. The smoke came to my apartment and I was already so sick, I could barely function. I was overcome with nausea and anger that they would even dare. So, I marched up there and confronted my neighbours. I was not nice.
They denied it even happened. I KNEW it did. I could smell it, it was making me feel more sick.
Fast forward 11 years….my next door neighbours have done the unthinkable. They have been unreasonable with my kids. They yelled at my son for driving his scooter in their driveway, and then told me I needed to try harder. Yes, because when you’re feeding a baby, cooking supper, and making sure your toddler doesn’t have a temper tantrum while he’s waiting for supper and your three older kids are outside playing, I should be trying harder to be a good mom. Oh, and when your three year old touches the tip of his foot on their sprinkler, from the sidewalk, while you’re at the door talking to another neighbour, and they yell, loudly and angrily, from their house to have a conversation about boundaries with the said three year old, you recognize that maybe, just maybe these type of people are going to be a bit more of a challenge.
The difference in these 11 years has nothing to do with a change in environment but instead, I can live with my neighbours because I can live with myself. I’ve grown to love myself a whole lot more and judge myself a whole lot less.
Was I impressed with my neighbours? No. I was upset for them yelling at my kids about something so ridiculous. I was upset for them accusing me of not trying hard. BUT, this time, although there has been one conversation, it was not unkind and did not end in yelling. I’m not sure how they think of me, how they’ve been judging since the said conversation or the other sprinkler incident, but it doesn’t matter anymore. I can let these incidence’s go quickly now. I can surrender them to Jesus and move on. I can know that the opinions of others have no reflection on me, but instead reflect the one who is holding the opinion.
To love your neighbour well, you must first love yourself. Love who you are, who God made you to be, and where you are. Then, you’ll really love your neighbour, instead of just practicing kindness and performing for them.
Go ahead, love who you are. The world needs you too.