You know the old saying “treat others as you would like to be treated”?
Here’s what I observe—–people treat others like they are treated, not like they would like to be treated.
Somewhere, somehow that pattern must consciously be stopped. I have this neighbor who lives directly next to me. He is an angry bitter man who has been a thorn in my side since the day I moved in more than a decade ago. He has built 2 garages all along his property width (against Minneapolis zoning). He shovels his snow onto my property and blatenly onto the hood of my car, which is parked in it’s spot behind my house, rather than on his property which is occupied with his garages and driveway. He’s gone into my yard uninvited to cut my tree. He’s taken down my fence which resulted in my 2 week old dog I rescued from Arizona, running away into a neighborhood completely foreign to her. He has verbally abused and harassed me and roomates with vulgar name calling for years. He makes my blood boil, as he did the previous owners. It is a daily exercise for me not to retaliate. My blood pressure rises and I often shake my head asking the universe why it’s brought me that man for me to confront everyday.
Once my anger passes, I feel sorry for this neighbor man–his anger, his bitterness, his isolation are his lot this life. I try to remember this..it is his path. The lesson for me is in patience and forgiveness, each snow day I walk out to dig my car out of my parking space. He is a 50 something man and his (I guess it’s his wife) who never has visitors, never leaves the house other than to tinker in his garages and shovel snow onto my car and cause me summertime grief whenever possible. Never says hello to neighbors even if they were standing next to him. Never makes eye contact. Never shovel the front of his house for the mail woman to walk on. He lives in his myopic view of the world from his front window.
What life is this? He reveals more about himself…his history…his being than he knows. He will die with a well groomed lawn..but what difference does he make giving himself to others? At he end of his days, as he sits on his pile of money he will have lots of time to reflect back on his life, how he treated others. It’s a horrible place to be. I saw my own grandfather go through it. I heard stories of him sitting in his nursing home room crying like a baby with all the regrets of how he treated people playing before his minds eye. Unable to shut it off.
For myself, neighbor man shows up in my life–good or bad–for my growth. To look at where my buttons get pushed and why. What action is there to take? What is responsible? What is not resisting, but letting go? Completing? Not being walked on but not playing the game. Why do I grow these people in my life? What pictures will I have run before my minds eys as I am nearing my death? Will I know I have done all I could do in this lifetime? Will I be happy with how I treated others?