We have lived in our neighborhood for about 11 years now. Through out the years we have developed strong relationships with our neighbors. Our next door neighbors have become best friends, and we have gotten close to several other neighbors doing BBQ’s and celebrating other events. We have had a lot of fun in our neighborhood having picnics, water fights and backyard marshmallow roasting. It’s been a nice place to raise our children too.
Over the last couple of years our neighborhood has started to transition. Several families have moved away and a couple of new families have moved in. What was once a very friendly neighborhood is now experiencing what I would call social breakdown. One of the new neighbors that have moved in has a drinking problem. When drunk, she tends to get angry and scream at the other neighbors. Apparently she told my sweet neighbor that I was a cat killer. My neighbor was so angry at the comment she wanted to let me know. I laughed at the accusation and said, “Well, I guess I did kill my cat. I shut my garage door and the cat was trapped in it.” We then had a good laugh at the Cat Killer title and enjoyed each others company. Another neighbor that has recently moved in is a stickler for rules. He is all about the association rules and complains to the association when people don’t pick up their fall leaves or when other neighbors leave their garbage cans out too long. He is obsessive about his yard and his neighbor’s yards and recently trimmed another neighbor’s trees without asking. We often watch him drive around the block of the neighborhood stopping at homes to report problems to the association.
It’s interesting how this has changed our neighborhood, and it’s been kind of sad.
I don’t know what it is about some people, but they would rather have rules than relationships. My mother in law who also has had her fair share of “rule oriented” neighbors got fed up at her last neighborhood association meeting when a man suggested that children should not be allowed to ride their bikes in the neighborhood. My mother in law stood up and said, “The more rules you make in life, the less people will be able to have relationship, enough is enough.” The crowd cheered her on and the man quietly sat down. Of course he just happens to have the townhome that shares a wall with my mother in law. Needless to say they are not best friends.
I guess it’s true that you can choose your friends but you can’t always choose your neighbors. There will always be those that are more difficult to love. There will always be a weird neighbor. The church is kind of the same way. The more rules there are the less it allows for honest, loving relationships. As for us, we will keep loving our neighbors. No more cats for me though. Apparently I have a reputation now.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
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