Or so says Robert Frost. I think.
I moved into my home almost 10 years ago. It was the thrill of a lifetime for me. I was nearly 50 years old. I had gone from homeless to renting an apartment, to renting a house, to purchasing a townhouse, and then finally to buying my own single family home in less than 10 years. To say I was thrilled really doesn't touch the way I felt about it.
When I was looking at it, I made sure I had an outdoor space to sit and read... that was the deck in the back of the house. I thought it would be splendid. I looked at the yard and planned where I would plant flowers instead of the rocks that were there.
When I moved in, it was late September - 2001 - which was an odd time to put it mildly. I never sat out on the deck that year. I did, however, plant tulip bulbs all over the place in joyful anticipation of the spring.
That Thanksgiving, I planned to stay home alone since I was working on my master's thesis and I was exhausted. I had planned to do nothing that day. But, as is the case every year, turkeys were on sale for like $3. a piece, so I bought one. I love to cook, so I opted to make myself some mashed potatoes, stuffing, and the rest of the traditional fare. I sat down, alone at my dining room table, and looked out the window at my neighbors gawking at me. The whole family, the grandparents, the parents, the kids, the grandkids, the whole shootin' match, looking out their dining room window at me. Loser, sitting at the dining room table, alone on Thanksgiving, eating a whole dinner - alone. So, I got up and closed the blinds. And suddenly felt like there was something terribly wrong with me.
By spring, I had noticed that the neighbors behind me were really "in my face." When I tried to sit on the deck, I felt like I was invading their personal space and so I stopped doing that. My yard is small, theirs is large. My deck goes half way to the property line, and sits above the fence, so we are almost eyeball to eyeball.
I came to really really dislike these folks. The nice neighbor who lives next door to me and is also in their backyard dislikes them even more than I did. They have big gatherings in the back yard late into the nights in the summer. I don't really care because my bedroom is in the front of the house, but hers is in the back, so it is an issue for her. One time she yelled at the man "Shut up, you old bastard!" Which I think is the only time I have ever heard of her using bad language or being anything less than loving. She is the type of person who mows lawns that aren't even hers (like mine for example).
Then one Sunday, I visited a church I didn't normally go to. (It is now my parish, but it wasn't then.) I nearly fainted when I saw my much hated neighbor marching up the aisle in his deacon's apparel. He gave the homily that day and I saw the little jolt of recognition when his eye caught mine. I decided I really had to stop hating him and his family.
It has been a long process. I started attending "his" church. I introduced myself to him and told him "I live in your backyard." He didn't argue with me. I met his wife when I was on the welcoming committee with her. I met their son, who is a lovely young man. We are on first name basis now.
They have a gardener who takes care of their lawn and garden. They also work on it quite a bit. It is beautiful. They have a rock fountain as the centerpiece of it - I enjoy listening to it in the summer. So, last summer, they apparently sprayed herbicide all over the fence because anything I had within 3 feet or so of the fence died. This includes my ornamental grass that used to be gorgeous. My honeysuckle. Half of my lilac bush. Two aspen trees. One rose bush. Various lilies and iris.
I had hoped they would come back this spring. I go out and check them every day. Dead. Dead. Dead.
I look over at their beautiful lush garden and I can't describe to you how very unchristian I feel about it. Now when I see him at church, I think about how badly he has impacted my life and how he probably has never given a thought about me.
I think I have to talk to him about it, but I don't know how I can without crying. I have been crying just writing this.
Some people just seem to get everything and they can't seem to stop there. They have to destroy the little bit that other people might have.
Sorry, I am not over my cold yet , and I am sure it is coloring my world in a dark, dark way.
I will pray for him and me. And I would ask for your prayers too if you would be so kind.