Tuesday, May 06, 2008

who are the people in your neighborhood?

33 comments:

jON said...

this is a section to share more of who you are in the real world if you so desire.

erin's father suffered a stroke saturday afternon. his wife has been suffering from stage 4 cancer for 2 years now and is deteriorating slowly. right now, they both need care, and something needs to be figured out. so if you could pray, send good energy, ask a jug of milk... whatever does it for you.

whatever you've got, we could use it right now.

Erin said...

You got it. My prayers are plentiful.

Erin said...

They found a tumor on my mother in law's brain last week...don't know yet if it's malignant or not.

my parents are having to sell their house of 32 years.

my sister just lost her primary job last week.

one of my sons' 12 year old friends was killed in an accident three weeks ago.

BUT...my brother and his fiancé are expecting their first baby in two weeks.

So there's always something good going on, too.

Delirious said...

Hmm...neighbors:

--Man two houses down...I think he has some really extreme OCDs. He is very difficult to live with. He calls the city regularly to complain if any bush grows too far over the sidewalk, or if a dog is barking too much, or if we leave our trashcans out too long...etc.

--Next door to my left...The husband is in the Coast Guard. They are planning to move so they can get away from the neighbor above.

--Across the street...Single mother of three who is going through a nasty divorce after her husband decided to have an affair with a sugar mama. My neighbor is doing her best to survive, amidst the drama her husband creates to mess up her life.

--Most of my other neighbors are all good friends of ours. Our children are friends, and we all spend time together. We are very lucky to have this micro community where we all get along.

I will pray for your neighbors. I have found myself often praying for those whose names I don't even know. But I figure God knows, and that's what counts.

deconstructedchristian said...

Praying for you both, jON and Erin. I'm sorry things are so hard at the moment.

In answer to your question:

Who are the people in my actual physical neighbourhood? I don't really know most of them beyond cursory greetings.

Who are my "neighbours" that I feel called to reach? Most of them are weird and wonderful and interesting people. I don't know why God draws me to them, because I'm rather boring and straight-laced.

Currently my "neighbours" include:
1. a stripper who uses alcohol/drugs/music/etc as a bandaid for her problems
2. a couple of struggling single mothers
3. a recently-post-op transsexual
4. a slowly-growing-up party girl with massive childhood issues who spent several years as a goth
5. a gay guy with a criminal record who has just finished another round of community service
6. a (biological) sister who is running away from God
7. a drug addicted party girl

And these are just a few.

However, I don't see them as what I've written above at all. I see them as (respectively)
1. a young artsy woman full of beauty who sees the beauty in everything around her.
2. two women who love and want the best for their children, who are fiercely loyal and who have so much more to give.
3. a very shy and tentative woman (yes, I see her as a woman) who is terribly confused about life, just wants acceptance, and is scared of what the future could hold
4. one of the kindest people I know - she would offer you the shirt off her back - she loves enormously and cares constantly
5. a man who feels like an outcast and reacts as such, but really just wants to be seen as a good person
6. a confused young girl who has unwittingly complicated her life and doesn't want to admit her belief in God because that would mean admitting her failures
7. an incredibly talented singer/songwriter who loves everybody and wants to be noticed for who she is.

It's amazing how God has changed my view of these neighbours of mine. A few years ago I would have had nothing to do with any of them. Now I love them all with a passion. I can't really talk about them on my own blog because many of them read it, and I'd hate for them to feel that my friendship was based on evangelism rather than real care.

Valorosa said...

Prayers for wisdom and comfort for your hearts.
I'm sorry to hear this.
Wow, such a big load for you.

The neighbours?

Lots of joy and heartache.
Elderly leaving for retirement or nursing homes and babies being born. Sickness and health and death and unbounded energy in little arms and legs.
Rosie and Gin Gin the cats.
Gin Gin is 22 years old.
Wishbone and Chase and Lucy and Betty the dogs.
The chocolate lab from up the street who escapes now and then and comes to visit.
Happy grouchy frowners smilers gigglers judgy gossipy backstabbing lovers of life who would assist at the drop of a hat.

Great neighbours.

Valorosa said...

What kind of role will you and Erin play in helping your parents out? Is there lots of family to help?

How serious is the stroke?

One Voice of Many said...

Definitely sorry to hear of the major health issues you and your wife are faced with.

Praying for grace,
Michelle

Ruth said...

Jon, I'm sorry about your Father-in-law and all that your family is faced with. I will certainly pray to my big jug of milk for you because I know he hears me.

It sounds like everyone has some very interesting neighbours in their world. Heather - thanks for sharing about the great people whom the Lord has entrusted you with.

On the personal side for me...my husband. He's not a believer. I grew up churched but didn't come back to the Lord until after I got married. I hope and pray that one day he will know Jesus.

jON said...

ok, here's what we know. my wife's father has mobility difficulties as well as slurred speech. he has been brought back to the midwest from the east coast to live with my sister-in-law and take some time to rehabilitate. erin is down there right now helping them get set up. she returns this wednesday night so i can return to work on thur. then, we will spend all next week, mon-fri, helping to care for both her father and her stepmother.

on a side note, my promotion is all but worked out. of course, this situation pushing back the start date.

i really enjoyed the sharing about actual neighbors. when i first threw this up i thought it would be a better way to get to know each others' real lives and needs and triumphs a little better. but i did enjoy learning about your real life neighbors. i also have a strange mish-mash of folks i feel drawn towards to walk alongside for the moment.

there's the over-sexed young woman i work with who is trapped in a cycle of self-destruction. i simply try to encourage her to make better choices for herself and to change her perspective on the world and her place in it. i never tell her "no" or "stop doing that" because if we learned anything from paul's discussion of the law in romans and galatians, it is this: telling someone "no" actually triggers something inside of us that makes us run straight for that thing. by not doing that and simply accepting her at any given moment, regardless of her latest story, and encouraging her towards a more healthy set of choices based on personal experience, she seems to actually change her own mind and actions because the choice is hers to make. recently, she informed me that she told her "fuck buddy" that she couldn't see her anymore because she wanted her current relationship to grow into something real, and didn't want to damage it.

while this may not sound "acceptable" to some, to me, this is a HUGE improvement. and i let her know that. baby steps.

that's one of the folk. and she could certainly use your prayers towards a more whole and healthy life. both inner and outer...

Lady through the Looking Glass said...

Sending good wishes and positive thoughts to Jon, Erin, and all those who are facing various health, relationship, etc. issues and challenges. May there be healing, restoration, wholeness, and resolution.

My neighbours include:

Two elderly sisters-in-law (one widowed, the other never-married) who pretty much keep to themselves, and are gracious neighbours. They're also Pentecostals, so there's the occasional session of loud tongues-talking whenever a prayer meeting is being held at their house. Provides good entertainment.

A young married couple - pilot and flight attendant. Very much in love. I think she's looking to start a family soon. And they have a darling female Shit-zhu with a bark that sounds like a smoker's hacking cough.

A nosy young man, who is slightly off his rockers, but is harmless. He teaches me that I need to exercise patience, especially when he's being extremely inquisitive and asking me the most embarrassing questions in a voice that would wake the dead in China.

A widow who lost her husband recently. They were married for 40-odd years before he succumbed to a massive stroke. She's hanging in there, though. It's always a pleasure to stop by and have a chat with her, just to cheer her up a bit. Always has a valuable life lesson to share.

A young man who is like a brother to me. Always helpful and pleasant. A music lover.

These are just a few, but all in all, I honestly can't complain about my neighbours. And so, I'm thankful for them. They make life quite interesting.

jON said...

someone stole my bible, as strange as that sounds. it usually lives on a spare chair in the kitchen, right underneath the window. it turns out that someone slit open our screen, opened our window, reached in and grabbed 2 things. rowyn's diaper bag, and my bible.

i wonder if they were disappointed in either one? i'm not really that upset about it since that was all they took, it just seems like odd things to slit open a person's screen for.

i'm just going to miss the past 3 years worth of existential and metaphysical underlinings...

not to mention that i usually don't memorize passages by chapter and verse. i just remember where they are on the page.

sad to see it go, but obviously it was time for it to move on and jump ship.

Valorosa said...

lol

wanting more said...

Well...I don't know my neighbors right now because we are living in a hotel in Cincinnati. I just met my husband here with the kids after a grueling visit with my family in Texas...where we encountered too many lies, too much manipulation, ugly actions...

We also learned that my aunt has (and I don't have a clue how to spell this) Mestina Gravis, and possibly also ovarian cancer (still waiting on the results).

My step sister had her baby while we were there, but I didn't get to see him because we were late to the airport.

So...tomorrow's the day. I don't know a soul. I'm here with a 7 month old and a 2 yr old, living in a hotel. Luke is my husband - he'll be at work, and I'm just a little worried about how we will spend our days since we are trying to save some money. It should be interesting!

Hopefully I'll have some neighbors soon.

jON said...

thanks for the update, kari. i was wondering how things were going. what are your most pressing needs at the moment so that we might all be praying for you? housing? finances? creative ways to spend your time in a strange place with your kids so you don't go stir crazy? all of the above?

Valorosa said...

The condition you are talking about is Myasthenia Gravis, Kari. A neurological muscle weakening disorder.

I have a prayer request ... we need to find a new psychiatrist for my son. Pray that we find someone who will have a fresh and Godly eye for him.

Thanks

jON said...

of course. good doctors can be so hard to find.

One Voice of Many said...

jon -
Are things ok with you guys? You surely are quiet over here.

Just checking...

Michelle

jON said...

thanks for asking michelle, i really appreciate it. strangely enough, the only response that comes to mind is a quote by the character marcellus wallace from pulp fiction, "nah man. i'm pretty fuckin' far from okay."

it has been a rough couple of years for us and i'm running out of steam. i don't have much left internally to go on. emotionally intense situation after another as well as mentally intense situation after another have brought me, and vicariously my family, to a place where i am barely hanging on inside and close to some sort of breakdown. i just don't let myself for fear of permanent damage.

more than anything, i could just use a break. a couple of months where nothing ridiculously big happens and i can just rest my heart and my mind. but for some reason, that is just not happening and these wounds don't even get a chance to scar over, they just stay fresh and keep on growing. the longer this cycle goes on, the less i understand the point of living and the less i am interested in engagin in it. its not a good cycle, but one i don't seem to be able to break.

because how does one get life to let up and stop hurling shit at you? some people can be okay with it and just shrug and say "that's life." but now i'm at the point where i can't help but wonder, "if that's life, then what good is it?"

i know that makes me sound like some sort of whiny slefish asshole, because i have lots to be thankful for. i just don't know why i need to have the shit beat out of me internally while being thankful.

it seems like the more work i do on myself, and the more i try to help people and situations improve, the harder and more painful life becomes. the more vulnerable i become to the world around me, the more it just tears me apart.

i could ramble like this all day. you asked....

One Voice of Many said...

Yes I did ask and I'm glad that I did. I would be the last one to tell you that you sound like a whiny selfish a-hole. If I did that, I'd have to call myself one too!

While I don't know your specific circumstances I do completely understanding your cry for a break to regroup and heal. (I'm pretty sure you've typed that exact same thing to me a couple of times over the past few months.)

Back on my edited post with the Bon Jovi "Hey God" song on it, I had initially typed that Jesus said he came to give us life to the full. If life is a shitstorm, then I certainly had been give it, press down and flowing over! I edited that part off because I was just way too angry when I typed it. That's usually a good indication that I shouldn't have said it at all. But I'm saying it now to say - I understand.

Hang in there and vent as often as you need to. That's at least my method of coping.

jON said...

here is a good example of one of those life-conundrums that makes it hard for me to have any sort of dogmatic or static religious belief. that the "good" people are the ones who adhere rigidly to a "biblical worldview" and the "bad" ones don't.

remember the young woman i told you about 10 comments ago? she is a lesbian. and very recently, this finally became known to her parents. she had tried to talk to them about it once 5 years ago, but her dad, out of righteous indignation, broke her ribs. so she thought it would be better not to bring it up anymore.

however, the secret came out again and this time the abuse was more internal (verbal, emotional, mental) than external. her parents were going to kick her out of the house, but then her mother decided that it was "just a phase" and that she could stay.

after all of that she doesn't really want to stay, because she knows what is going to be coming her way, but she doesn't really have anywhere else to go. the deciding factor for her (and the crux of this story for me) was that she didn't want to do that to her parents. she said they depend on her monthly income to make ends meet and out of compassion and concern for them and their well-being, she has decided to live with their abuse in order to make sure they can make ends meet.

when i hear a story like this it is real hard for me to come down on the side of the "righteous and religious" as being those who are displaying the love of god.

for someone to display the kind of generosity and selflessness that this young woman is, especially to the ones doing the abusing, is reminiscent of christ and his attitude towards us. and this without realizing that's what she's doing. she's just doing it naturally.

its hard to see how christians can truly just write off an entire group of people based on their sexuality, while ignoring the love and acceptance and christlikeness that flows from so many of them.

Ruth said...

Hey jon - I've been praying for you and your family. Thanks for giving us an honest update.

One Voice of Many said...

jon - heartbreaking. At what point is her giving heart doing her an injustice? I would feel while her reasoning is noble, it's only going to cause her more wounds for her to have to overcome in the future.
Very sad.

jON said...

shit, girlfriend, you get that one figured out, you let me know! finding a delicate balance between offering the kind of help no one offers to one another these daysand protecting yourself from people who would do a person such as that harm.

its a balance i have not yet found and one of the reasons i continue to be ripped apart more and more by life.

Erin said...

Anyone have any clue why bad things have to happen all at once? Because I can go months, or even years, just sailing along...and then WHAM! and all the shit hits the fan for months on end.

Just an interjection. Any thoughts would be appreciated. It's been some heavy shit going on constantly for over 6 months now, with no end in sight and I'm just about out of get up and go. But God is faithful...and there is always light in the darkness eventually...still...

One Voice of Many said...

Erin - I have no idea on a decent answer to that one. I'm not even in the mood to come up with the lame churchified responses that might get you all fired up. I'm sorry ... all I can say is hang in there. What else can we do?

Erin said...

Thank you Michelle, I appreciate the encouragement. I also appreciate the lack of churchified response. ;-)

I don't really expect anyone to have an answer, but this conversation seemed like a good place to vomit up (to use Jon's word) my present angst and frustration and emotional exhaustion...

jON said...

hey, puke away. (that's why i put all of this gallagher-esque plastic on the furniture and floor) i'm right there with you. i'm not sure why, but i feel like i've hardly had a chance to catch my breath, emotionally speaking. so i can completely relate. it's just been one thing after another for almost 2 years straight and i'm wondering just how deep this rabbit hole goes...

yet, to be fair, not without hope. though times do get dark, i see little flashes of light that are so wonderful that i keep chasing them, trusting that they are leading me right in the real time dance of spirit living. sure i still step on toes now and again, but i just love dancing so much i can't quit.

it is painful learning. but in the end so far, the lesson has always been worth the pain.

Erin said...

Thanks Jon. Our rabbit hole has been going on probably two years as well, but the last six months things really started to run away, and then the last two months things got crazier. And now this in the last 6 days. It's like it's accelerating and it's making me crazy.

"I'm on a ride and I want to get off, but they won't slow down the roundabout." -- Duran Duran

Can I smash a watermelon with a sledgehammer here? I always though that looked like fun.

Valorosa said...

And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind, because
in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.
......
So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; .....
And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.
The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness and yet I know that one fate befalls them both.
Then I said to myself, " As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me "Why then have I been extremely wise?"
So I said to myself, "This too is vanity."
For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten And how the wise man and the fool alike die!

So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.

For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun?
Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.

There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.
For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?
For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy ...

Valorosa said...

Eccl. 1 and 2

jON said...

thanks for sharing this, val. you always know the right thing to share.

and erin, of course you can smash watermelons here. didn't you see the approved watermelon smashing venue sign outside?

Valorosa said...

gallagher-esque ???

Are you using my name in vain LOL