I bought my house now nearly 12 years ago. It was September 2001, that momentous time. From the beginning, I was heartbroken over my backyard space. Whenever I have looked for a place to live, whether it was an apartment, condo, or house, one of my first criteria is that it has to have an outdoor space for me to sit and read or do my nails or whatever. In this house I thought I had that space or I would not have purchased it. But from the first time I sat on my deck, I realized the people who live behind me afforded me no privacy whatsoever.
My next door neighbor and I have groused over the years about how loud they are, and how they LIVE outside all summer. With a stinky smoky grill, and loud voices and music with speakers outdoors. The first time I sat to eat at my dining room table, I realized that my dining room window faces their dining room window and there I was, face to face with these people! For a time, I closed the blinds so as not to look at them. But I don’t like the blinds closed!
Theirs is a beautiful large suburban home. Mine is a small suburban home, still much too much for what I need. My neighbor’s back yard and my back yard are still in these people’s back yard. My neighbor tells me that when they moved in, the first thing they did was chop down all the aspen trees in the back yard. Trees that provided some privacy. Now it is just a straight shot, nothing in between. I am in the process of growing aspen trees in my back yard, but it will take years before they shield me from their eyeballs. When they sit outdoors, they sit facing my house. It is SO intrusive. And did I say LOUD? Loud, 24/7.
So, one day about 6 or 7 years ago, I went to a different church. And imagine my surprise and shock when I saw this guy, my loud neighbor, walking up the aisle in his vestments. He is a deacon. I resolved that I must learn to love them. I was successful for a while.
This summer they have just been beyond the pale. The night before last, I was sitting in my living room, minding my own business, trying to watch TV. I could not even hear my television for all the screaming that was going on over there. He has a loud bellowing voice, and I finally gave up and went to bed just to get away from the noise.
When I went to Mass in the morning, there he was. As he was saying his deacon parts at Mass, I actually thought “SHUT UP!!!” I have grown to hate the sound of his voice so much. And then I asked God for forgiveness. I did not go to communion with all that evilness in my heart.
I MUST NOT GO BACK TO THAT CHURCH! Thank God I have found another that I love so very much. But his church is very close to home and has more convenient mass times, especially on Holy Days. Who cares. I can’t go there.
If I were a true Christian, I would go to him and tell him kindly how much they bother me and probably ask for forgiveness. I am so not there.
I will avoid him like the plague so as to not have that to feel that intense dislike. And in the meantime, I will pray for God to change my heart. He can do it, I cannot. If there is one lesson I have learned from my sobriety it is that:
I cannot change me. God can change me, and he will, in his time, not mine.