Sunday Wisdom: Love Thy Neighbor (Yes, Even the Loud Ones)

Hi, ya’ll! This post is quite a bit late, so I do apologize for that! Hope that your week has been treating you well, and this week only gets better. Sunday’s theme at church was, the classic, “Love thy neighbor.” A classic one, but one that we certainly can still learn from.

Over the summer, my boyfriend, Bobby, and I went on a camping trip. The day that we were packing up to leave, he got his keys stuck in the car and we couldn’t get them out. We had parked in the alley near the apartment so that we could bring things down from my apartment easier. Usually, there was a van parked there, but it wasn’t parked there today, which we were really excited about.

Then, we lost the keys. Initially, we had no idea that they were locked in the car, so we were looking everywhere. We looked through the alley, the stairs, my apartment, anywhere we could think of. Still, no keys. Eventually, Bobby came upon the realization that they must be inside the car. Which was locked. And we had no spare key. And the car windows were up. And we were supposed to have left half an hour ago. To say we were disheartened was an understatement. 

Bobby said that we needed a wire hanger to try to break into the car and unlock it from the inside. I, being a practical girl, only had felt hangers, you know, so things don’t slip off, and also because they save space. A great investment, by the way. Unless, of course, you’re trying to break into your car. Which, unfortunately, we were trying to do.

My advice, when all else fails: call your dad. That’s what I did, anyhow. 

“Dad? Hi. Bobby and I are locked out of his car, and we need a wire hanger to break into it, and we’re supposed to go camping, but we’re late and the keys are in the car…”

(When I’m nervous, I have a habit of over-explaining, if you couldn’t tell.)

He, being the great dad he is, said he’d be over shortly, and he’d find a wire hanger, too.

During this time, I went back to the apartment to double-check and see if the keys were magically there. In my hurry, I left the door to my apartment open.

I had lived there for a month or so, but hadn’t really talked to any of my neighbors. I think at that point, there was only one apartment filled. There was an older man and woman there. For whatever reason, I had been kind of scared of them. Well, I had never seen the man, so I suppose I was scared of the woman. She then passed by my open door, and I said hello.

She said hi back, and then paused.

“Is that your car there?”

“Well, it’s my boyfriend’s. We locked the keys in there, and we’re trying to go camping, so my dad is coming to try to help us break into it.”

She goes on to explain to me that it’s her van that’s usually parked there, and that she parks there because she has trouble walking, and parking there minimizes the amount of steps she has to take. She tells me that she knows they need to move to an apartment that’s easier for them to access (We have quite a few stairs going into our building) but they’ve lived there so long and it would be just too hard for them to move.

And I’ll tell you what. I felt BAD. Bad for every mean thought I had had about that van. For when I cursed that van when I was moving in because I had to walk a little farther to get into my apartment, bad for it all. I felt like the worst person in the world. I apologized profusely. I apologized that his car was stuck there, because she said that she was scared she would get a parking ticket, because she had to park on the street. But, unknown to her, I was also apologizing for the unkind thoughts I had had toward the van, and by association, her. 

I wish I could say that this interaction caused us to become best friends, but it didn’t. However, I am able to feel compassion towards her, and whenever I see her, I always make sure to say hi, and to make whatever conversation I can. It’s so easier to be sympathetic towards someone once you know their story, but shouldn’t we be that sympathetic always? We can’t only be kind to people whose story we know, because that is too easy. It’s much harder to be kind to people who are being difficult for seemingly no reason. And still being kind to them, despite what their disposition may be, is what loving your neighbor is all about. 

It’s so easy to get annoyed, and I, unfortunately, get annoyed quite easily. It’s one of the many things that I’m working on. Loving your neighbor is not always easy, and loving your neighbor(s) when living in an apartment is even harder. You’re living in a very small space where you can hear every move that they make through the shared walls. Which, isn’t always a comfortable thing. But then I think that they have to listen to me singing along to music in the morning. Very off-key, might I add. I’ve never had someone complain to me about it. And so, in turn, when my new neighbors are causing a ruckus before they go out to the bars, I just let them have fun. I don’t make a fuss, even when I’m trying to go to sleep.

Being a good neighbor isn’t just about keeping quiet, so as not to keep your neighbors up. It’s also about being friendly, even being friends with your neighbors. Which is something that I feel like people do anymore. When I was little I remember being so excited every time a family would move into the neighborhood, because it meant that there were potential friends moving in. I need to get back that way of thinking, of thinking that every new person is a friend, and to not only exist with my neighbors, but to love them as well.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week!

-Mattie Mae

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