Monday, October 31, 2011

Cranky Old Neighbors and Fences

Like many other people I have neighbors, defined as people whose property is adjacent to my own.  Since my lot includes the middle of the block I have a lot of neighbors, some that I know and some that I don't.  But in general I have gotten along with them for the most part.  But that has apparently changed.

On one side of me is a cantankerous old lady that I had gotten along with pretty well from the time she moved in until last year.  But now, apparently, I have done something, either real or imagined, that has offended her.  She no longer acknowledges my existence and, even worse, has done the same thing with my wife.  And we are left to our own imaginations to try and figure out what the problem is.



We recently had new renters move into the apartment that is attached to the side of our house and between us and her.  The renters have a small dog that uses the yard in front of the apartment.  I found out last week that this lovely neighbor has confronted the tenants concerning their dog and the need to keep it off of her lawn.  So I should not have been too surprised when late last week a fence started going up between her front yard and mine (the back has been fenced for a long time).

I must admit to some very mixed feelings about all of this.  On the one hand, not being overly social, I don't care if she chooses to not talk with me.  It's not as though we ever had more than a casual relationship.  But for some reason I have found myself offended by her actions, and especially with the fence.  And that is somewhat confusing to me.  I mean, why should I care that she is building a fence to separate us.  I have no need to go into her yard, especially since she won't have anything to do with me.  The only people it hurts is the mail lady who walks between our houses across the yard, her lawn care folks who previously used my driveway to get between her yard and the strip of grass along the street, and her pocketbook.

And yet the night the fence started up I spent the first half of the night churning over it, alternately plotting revenge and trying to convince myself to just let it go.  Fortunately my better judgement won out and there will be no revenge.  But I don't think I can just let it go either, as easy as that would be to do.  Romans 12:18 tells me that as far as it depends on me, I should live at peace with those around me; including the cranky old lady next door to me.  Not sure just how to approach someone who will turn and walk away if I get close, and will surely close the door in my face if I knocked.  But somehow I need to approach her and ask forgiveness for whatever I might have done.  If she responds positively, I have won back a neighbor.  But even if not, I can know that I have made the attempt.

There may be a card to write in my future.  And definitely some praying to do, both for me and for her.

2 comments:

  1. "But somehow I need to approach her and ask forgiveness for whatever I might have done."

    Why? Hollow way to get rid of guilt, isn't it? A blanket absolution is what you are seeking in exchange for an insincere apology.

    If your apology is to "get over the distance", it is phony

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  2. And so what would you suggest? Toss a grenade over the fence?

    I do not feel any guilt over the broken relationship. What I do feel is a need to at least attempt to resolve it.

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