For years, 12, to be exact, the house next door was home to one of the most wonderful neighbors a person could ever ask for. Trish was always kind, thoughtful and respectful. One year during a particularly wet and windy winter, one of her tree’s fell over onto our side. She immediately was at our door apologizing and letting us know she had already contacted her gardener to come and cut it down. We would leave Christmas goodies on each other’s doorstep and when we saw each other outside we would always stop to talk.
Trish lived by herself and we always told her if she needed anything day or night to call us. She was a hard worker, working as a mail carrier during the day and getting up in the wee hours of the morning to deliver papers. Even though our bedroom is on the other side of the house from where her garage is, I sometimes, in the still of the night, would here her garage door go up and I knew she was getting ready to go out, by herself, and deliver the latest breaking news to part of far East County.
Sadly, Trish had to move about a year and a half ago. Her house was bought by an investor and we have had two sets of neighbors live next door during this time. About a month ago the renters moved out and some new neighbors moved in. It was natural to presume that we would be getting new renting neighbors, families passing through until they could afford their own house or perhaps finding something less expensive to rent. However, by the way our new neighbors fixed up the property it is safe to presume they bought the house. Great! Our little court could continue its quiet existence. Or, so we thought.
Our new neighbors are not loud by any means. In fact, they keep much to themselves. We attempt to make eye contact with them and say a friendly, “hello”, but they aren’t having any of our neighborliness. I even went over to share some community safety information with them, I know they were home because I could hear someone come to the door, but their door remained steadfastly closed.
The issue isn’t that they are loud noise wise, rather, it is the 6+ vehicles they have brought with them, three being work vans, that they try very hard to keep confined to their area, but, quite frankly, it has turned our little court upside down. Especially for our neighbors that live next door to them on the other side. And, I’m guessing they are a little offstandish because of all their vehicles and don’t want to be confronted about this and maybe had some issues elsewhere in the past.
Here is another, practice what you teach, moment for me! Sometimes it is hard to pray for what God asks us to pray about. Especially when we have become comfortable with the way things are and suddenly the Holy Spirit rocks the boat.
My dear friend and neighbor across the street from us and I have said for many years that God has put us in our corner houses as light houses into our court and for our neighborhood. We decided to join together in prayer for our new neighbors, asking God to change our hearts for them and opportunities to simply share His love.
Soon after one of our prayer times together, I was praying for our neighbors again and God showed me a picture of our new neighbors in a boat, sailing into our court, passing the two lighthouses, one on each corner. I could see the water they were coming from was choppy and as soon as they entered into the court the water became calm. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “I have brought them from raging waters into a calm sea.” Wow, I am always overwhelmed when the Holy Spirit gently reminds me that it isn’t about me and my feelings but about Him and what he is asking me to do. And, at the same time teaching my heart to resonate with His. God has chosen my neighbor and I, not to complain about how things have changed and are now uncomfortable, rather to trust Him and look at the bigger picture. To remember His words in 2 Peter 3:9:
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6.