Sunday, November 06, 2005

No Winners

My neighbor was not a pillar of the community. I heard about him from many people when I first moved into the community. He and his wife had divorced but were living together. He had killed a man with whom his wife had an affair. His 16 year old daughter became pregnant and moved in with the father-to-be but they never married. I could tell you more but I think you have an image of the type of people he and his wife were.

My neighbor treated me with respect and kindness. I can’t remember the first cross word or unpleasant experience. I can remember his hospitality and kindness.

My neighbor had three children at home who spent quite a bit of time at my house. The oldest boy practically lived at my house. We fed him, took him to restaurants and paid for his meals and treated him like our son. He received something from us that he didn’t get at home.

I baptized two of my neighbor’s children. The father never attended but the mother did attend both baptisms. Upon seeing her enter the church the chairman of the deacons said to me “If she starts attending, my family and I are leaving!”

Amazing! Damned amazing! How could he be so blind, so selfish and so hateful that he would not want something better for the children of this family? How could he call himself Christian and clutch so tightly to hatred? I remember my neighbor with good thoughts because of the kindness he extended to me. I remember this church member with sadness and a slight amount of despair.

I try to end each post with a positive slant. In this case I can’t think of one. There were no winners – only losers in this experience. But, that’s life sometimes. We take the bad with the good and keep going.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

The positive slant may be that your neighbour had some light in his life, and I suppose that chairman did too -- it just wasn't visible in this situation.

11/06/2005 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

And, too, life unfolds in a mystery. Thank goodness you acted with compassion and care, because it will ripple outwards in ways you'll never imagine. We are always someone's guardian angel.

11/06/2005 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Oh dear! It never ceases to amaze me how some people , who can be so enlightened in some areas of their lives, can be so intolerant in others. The kind of intolerance your chairman was guilty of can have an incredibly serious impact on those who feel that they are outsiders in society. It can even drive people to taking their own lives.

11/07/2005 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Buffalo said...

The positive slant is that you give a damn. More often than not caring is a very good thing.

11/07/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Trée said...

Another positive slant is your story is a call for us to look inside our own hearts and examine what is there, to water the good, and puck the weeds as need be.

11/07/2005 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Red Bark said...

Replace positive and negative with objective.

Your deacon was not a seperate person but a part of humankind. "We" have those problems of fear and ignorance, not just some of us, we human beings in general. We are all subject to some brand of ignorance if not all of them.

11/07/2005 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger George Breed said...

Yep. We are all weiners and loosers. No slant needed, good brother.

11/07/2005 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger utenzi said...

You have such great examples. You're obviously a true follower of Christ and not just a me-too christian. Your pulpit here should be followed more widely.

11/07/2005 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger graceonline said...

Positive slant? I was touched by your love for your neighbors, and by the gifts they had brought to your life. Your compassion and acceptance of them is almost revolutionary.

I hope your church friend's heart is so filled with love that he too can see the beauty in your new friends.

11/12/2005 01:45:00 AM  

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