March 15, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor

I think God’s instruction to “love thy neighbor as thyself” is among the hardest of all teachings. Some people are just too hard to love. Some people refuse to be loved. Some people seem to do all they can make you hate them and wish them ill.

Some of my regular readers (all 5 of you!) know that I have struggled with loving my neighbors. I have one set of neighbors who make it really easy to hate them and wish them ill.

A wise friend of mine (Terry!) recommended that I pray for my neighbors. (Dang, back to square one!) I shouldn’t just pray for them to move out or that their house is leveled by a tornado or they are all hauled off to jail in a nighttime ATF raid. You can see I’ve sketched a lot of scenerios!

I’ve been struggling lately with violent rage. I’m blowing things way up out of proportion. I’m starting to entertain thoughts of beating up my neighbors or retaliating against them by giving them a dose of their own medicine.

I’ve been praying lately not so much for my neighbors but that I be delivered from this rage as I can see I’m losing control because of it.

Like an answered prayer, yesterday’s First Reading in the Novus Ordo is Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18. I’ve read it before but now it really meant something. I read it over and over. I was at lunch when I first read it and I read it again and again. I ripped the page from my Magnificat and taped it to my fridge.

“Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “

There it is. I felt peace washing over me. Can I live with the admonishment long term? Remains to be seen. All I know is the rage is gone. Maybe I can actually pray for my neighbors today.

6 Comments:

Blogger Clamburger said...

Sometimes several people I know -including ministers, though only jokingly- code hard-to-love people as "Extra Grace Required." But who doesn't fall into that category at times?

March 15, 2011 9:37 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Hard as it may seem to believe, I also have a rage problem. Especially when driving and the traffic engineers seem to have all the semaphores timed against me arrivinig on time at my planned destination, or, when Microsoft Windows or Firefox software engineers start playing games with me and my sanity.

I've found that the "Hail Mary" does wonders, Cath.

March 16, 2011 10:48 AM  
Blogger belinda said...

Years ago, I would continue arguments and confrontations I had had with people in my head and long after my aggravat-ors had left. Sometimes I would swirl these pretend conversations in my head and I assumed that the other people whom I was angry with were doing the same thing and all the while as I had done this, I would continue to grow angrier towards these people.

But the reality was - aside from me being crazy, was that no one was ever giving me a second thought. I wasn't even a consideration to those people and my head games and plotting were a waste of time since I could have better spent that same time praying for people.

What I'm trying to say is to force yourself to let it all go and to try not to think of these people or what they've done to you, you'll feel better. I would gamble that they haven't done most of what they've done to aggravate you or to get to you, but these things were done because your thoughtless neighbors had continually put themselves and their feelings before you or everyone else.

Consider taking some cookies to them- for Jesus, then go home and lock your doors :-) As an excuse to drop by, don't you have some diapers or something to return?

I'm not patronizing you. I know it's hard because your neighbors are actually how I get along with my extended family where I dread.... literally weep after they call or come by and I beg God to keep them busy so I don't have to deal with them in the first place. They are emotionally draining and and exercise in spiritual virtue and self control. They have no idea how much pain they bring to me. I wish they would dis-own me again. I wanna tell you all about it but I've already wrote to much, so sorry.

March 16, 2011 11:32 AM  
Blogger The Little Way said...

I offered a novena to St. Therese for my mentally unstable next door neighbor, who would shriek through the wall of our house at me because I burned incense and she could smell it. She hasn't converted, but the harassment has stopped and lo and behold, there is a statue of St. Therese and Jesus with His Sacred Heart sitting on their mantle. While she and her husband have not converted, and he says the statues are there because he thinks they're "nice art deco", I continue to believe that their conversion WILL one day happen. No one can be around Therese for long without her catching them in her little web, even if she's only there in a statue. I will offer your intention with your neighbors the next time I offer a novena to her.

March 16, 2011 5:52 PM  
Blogger 3puddytats said...

Yeah--this one's a bugger-boo...I've struggled often with this..

What I've learned especially this week is that certain individuals will pass me in the hall way at work and not even make eye contact..then send me a snarky email.

People that treat you mean yo just need to be upfront "I don't like it when you say/do this and mention what it is and I don't like it. Please don't do it again." People can be really mean spirited when they think they are teasing etc. It's cruel. Don't put up with it. Tell them about it and if it happens again thenleave. Just because they are blood doesn't mean that you have to be bullied or continuously put down. People that are mean are that way because they have been allowed to continue with the behavior. Same with neighbors. I had a confrontation years ago with an upstairs neighbor who said my baby kitten meowed and kept her baby from sleeping (what? I'm telling ya that woman could hear a mouse fart from across the room) yet her same baby screamed holy hell day and night and kept ME awake...Some people have nothing better to do than complain..

Sara

March 16, 2011 7:49 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Thanks for these comments-in a special way sending Belinda a deep curtsy and amazement that I think she is my long lost twin. Yes, I could send them diapers! Lol

March 16, 2011 8:05 PM  

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