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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Neighborly Anxieties

by Tom Pappas

My heart is hurting and my stomach is in a knot.  Isn’t it times like this we’re to be in prayer and remember the perspective of our loving God, who came to bring abundant life.  I hope in the praying and the writing I will get a sense of peace.

There are two situations that have me on the ropes, and both involve neighbors.  One neighbor, mine, has bushes at the front of his property that encroach on ½ the sidewalk for at least 30 feet. Walkers and bikers must go single file next to the curb on a busy street.  Yesterday I screwed up my courage to go talk to them about trimming the bushes back; I missed them by seconds as they drove out of their driveway. We waved.

The other neighbors are complaining about the people that I approved for a property I am trying to manage for a dear friend. The neighbors resent the lifestyle of the renters and the owner is disappointed too. This is the harder of the two.

The angst I feel is in relation to how much I need people’s approval.  (Note to self, don’t ever do politics.) The cordiality meter in my mind drops with each step I take toward next door to invite the neighbors to trim their bushes. My anxiety is worse as I consider trying to smooth over conflict at the rental. As this is playing out I have many times reflected on people whose every day is loaded with stress and the opportunity to not be approved of.

Being faithful isn’t about being liked - but something about me is.  I’m thinking that God would like it if I could put that part of myself on hold and boldly approach these situations.

I think I will like that too.  Is it possible that sometimes Call is away from whom we are or think we are?

Note the fallen branch in the picture. My son and I removed it as it was face-high for a bicycle rider.

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