Saturday, April 9, 2011

Knock Three Times

Do y'all know this song?

It's one of my favorite songs of all time!! I used to play it over and over with Addison when she was a toddler. She knew all the words, and we would twirl and dance around our living room. It's one of my all time favorite memories of her toddler years. Her little chubby hands clapping (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP). Love that girl! Anyways, this is totally not where I was going with this post, but it's a great example of how my mind works.
    What I came here to write about are my neighbors. My new neighbors. The fourth set of neighbors I've had in four years. Until today, I would have told you I resent the fact that every year we get new neighbors.  You see the house next door is a rental home and it has been the case that every time someone new moves in they do not exactly match up with the rest of my neighborhood. Seriously, I should just name this blog "The House Next Door", because internet there are stories over that fence, lots and lots of blog worthy stories. What an ugly way to think, huh? The truth of the matter is, until today, I really believed in my heart of hearts that I was better than the people who took up residence in the house next door.

   In the past year I've been trying to change my heart and ultimately my outlook on life. I have done a lot of reflection this past year. (Stick with me, I'm going some where with this) When ugly or unkind thoughts enter my head, I really try and analyze where those feelings are coming from and how I could turn them around. It's a process, and I'm not perfect, but for the most part, I'm proud of the effort I've made and the affect it has had on my personal relationships and outlook on life. In a sense I've slowed down, listened and opened my heart more, and kept my mouth closed.  So back to my story.    In the past, the house next door has provided shelter for:

A single father and his 5 year old son, who would roam free until the wee hours of the night and would go knocking on every one's door asking for food (No I'm not kidding)

A mother with 6 kids, who would freak out if you, brought out a camera or video recorder, like lose their mind, freakout!! (Again, not kidding)

A strict and moody Asian mother who likes her Tupperware returned :)

And now the new neighbors.

It was inevitable that we would meet them, when my daughter saw the pink Barbie jeep parked out front. The one! just! like! hers! It started with talking across the fence.

Then that evolved into the mother and daughter coming over for a play date. Here's where my heart needs changing. This mom is different. Not different as in I'm better than her, just different. She showed up with a cigarette in her hand. Which resulted in me telling my husband " Addy's not allowed to go over there".  The next time the little girl came to play the mom told me she just took two shots of whisky. OK, so she's different than me. Is that a reason to not let her sweet and adorable daughter play with mine? Addy begged us to let her go over to the house next door and play, and this is where it gets tricky, I sent my husband to bring her over. Addy asked in front of the little girl. And the mom called and reassured me, and I don't know why, but I just had a feeling I should trust her.  I told my husband to note the cleanliness of the house, the animals, the men who lived there, etc. etc. etc.  I told myself I would let her play 15 minutes then go over there.  And that is what I did.  The house was cleaner than mine. The kids were playing dress up and laughing and having fun.  I did learn  that they have a friend who they are helping out, who was just released from prison on drug charges, and yes my heart cringed!!! (I've met him, he's a great guy! Really he is!) Who am I to judge these people's vices? I have my own vices!! (Hello postpartum depression!) I know that the safety of my child comes first, and I can assure you that she is safe when she goes over and plays.

    Now that I know it is a safe environment, I started questioning this relationship since it has multiplied into several play dates and invites to dinner. She's a stay at home mom, her husband is an engineer. I could best describe them as the partying type, Ala' Jimmy Buffet's parrot heads with a pinch of the Greatful Dead! So like I said, I've been burned in the past, and I didn't want to make the same mistakes, and I didn't want to deny my daughter another playmate. This little girl is the same age and will start kindergarten in the fall with my daughter. So taking this all into my heart, it reminded me of something from my past.     When I was young I attended camp YWCO, like the YMCA, just for women or girls. ( I'll blog about my camp experiences a little later) My memories from camp are some of my favorite memories. I learned so much from camp.I actually still remember all our old camp songs!! Camp was probably my favorite place in the Whole Wide World while growing up.  Camp YWCO was a two week sleepover camp. On Sundays we would have fellowship and some of the campers would preform little skits based on a bible story. The particular skit that I remember, went something like this:

Two sisters get a phone call from God. God tells the sisters that he is coming for a visit. Excitedly, they start cleaning up and fixing a feast fit for a King. Suddenly there is a knock at the door. It's a homeless man looking for something to eat. The sister who answers the door, tells the homeless man to basically get lost,that they had more important things to worry about, slamming the door in the homeless man's face. Minutes later the doorbell rings again,  this time it's a sick little girl who is asking for a place to rest and maybe some medicine. The sisters tell the little girl to get lost, that they were busy preparing for an important visitor.  Again, minutes later someone else knocks on the door and this time it's a church group asking for a donation for the poor. And again the sisters send them away, still frantically preparing for God's visit. A little later, the phone rings and it's God again. He ask the sisters why they didn't let him in? And they are shocked that they missed his visit. He tells the sisters "I came as the homeless man, the sick girl and the poor"and you turned me away……….

You get where I'm going with this? Maybe just maybe, my neighbors are a gift from God to open my heart, to accept them for their differences and learn from them. And maybe possibly they can learn from me too? It's a lesson from God to teach my daughter about differences and accepting those differences and loving thy neighbor in every sense of the word. So I'm embracing these lessons from the house next door.  What do you think internet? As long as my daughter is in a safe environment should I let her play next door?

No comments:

Post a Comment