April 9, 2007

Neighbor's Gift

For the past several months my neighbor offered me a gift I did not see as such – until now. It’s only within the last couple weeks I’ve started to see it for what it really is.
My sweet next door neighbor has a grandson who recently got out of jail and for some reason is sleeping in a tent in her backyard. Which officially makes him my closest neighbor. You could say I live next to a homeless guy. And his girlfriend. (Yeah, believe it or not, he’s got a girlfriend in on this gig.)
I know it’s strange to have people living in a tent next to your house, but I’ve had a while to get used to it. Almost a year, as a matter of fact.
The part I haven’t gotten used to is the all night fighting between this homeless grandson and his girlfriend. It’s deteriorated to the point where neighbors have called the police several times – twice by me.
Over the months I’ve gone from being irritated to angry to sympathetic to incredulous to angry again. I thought I heard a gunshot over there one day and thought “I hope she shot him.” (What would Mr. Rogers say??)
Recently it dawned on me that I was asking them to do what I wasn’t able to myself – be at peace. I wanted them to be quiet and get along. And yet, here I was, angry and noisy and fighting with them – even if just in my mind.
I recognized if I wanted peace, it had to start with me.
Now, it’s taken me a few weeks to get there, but I have. In fact, while mowing the lawn the other day, I thought “I wonder how I could be a better neighbor to my homeless couple?” I thought I might ask them next time I saw them. Which was later that day when he apologized for being a noisy and disrespectful neighbor.
Wow! This stuff works fast when you work it!
In short order it was like I had a completely different neighbor. He made a point of waving whenever he saw me, and would occasionally stop at the fence to chat like good neighbors do.
 
I don’t know if he just fights more quietly with his girlfriend, or if there’s peace in the tent – but I haven’t woken up in the middle of the night for … well, I can’t remember the last time they woke me up.
So my neighbor has gifted me with the opportunity to find peace within myself, and thus set the example for the world I want to live in. Thank God for neighbors willing to offer these gifts. Where would we be without them?

  • Day 5 | Kati's Place says:

    […] after many angry looks and even some mean words, I was inspired by Jeannette Maw’s blogpost to try turn things around! What I did was nothing major, just tried to find the feeling of peace […]

  • Good Vibe Coach says:

    For those of you reading this story, you may be interested in the follow up posts:

    http://loaplayground.blogspot.com/2007/05/guess-who-mowed.html

    and the one dated 9/5 called “Hello, Honey”

  • The Law of Attraction Coach says:

    Jeannette!

    This reminds me so much of a situation Lynn Grabhorn talks about in “Excuse me-your life is Waiting.” The people who rent her cottage, always keep the light on and the more frustrated she gets-the worse it gets. So finally she decides to just SEND THEM love and lots of it. At first its hard, and then it gets easier. Until finally-all is well! I love happy endings-there are so many of them. 🙂

  • Good Vibe Coach says:

    Thanks for reading, Shayli, and for posting! I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about as well. 🙂

  • Shayli Vere says:

    I just wanted to say how much i enjoy visiting your blog and see what you are thinking about today.
    all the best
    shayli

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