I suppose I could name this week’s encouragement something other than Coronavirus 7. Yet it feels as if everything we do these days, all of our decisions, are made within a new framework, perhaps one within we are placed to bring these choices into clearer focus, part of a greater purpose.
As you know, Sid and I are sequestered in Florida and grateful to be able to help my cousin living with recently diagnosed multiple myeloma. She is a well known line dance teacher and until just recently has not been well enough to continue teaching. So when she said she is up for it, any of us who could were there to support her.
As social distancing and restrictions have increased, so, too have her options for teaching. Creatively, she found a huge RV lot within a stone’s throw of our place that allows her to continue to teach with a maximum of 6 students all of us easily 20 or more feet apart. What a joyful way to exercise outdoors safely, passersby giving thumbs up to the music, as dance and music uplift all those nearby.
Except, of course, for the one neighbor who lives directly across the street from the RV lot. Ironically, she does not have a warm and fuzzy relationship with my cousin. So from the very first dance class, she asked that the music be turned down, and was not happy for the one hour interruption to her daily outdoor time on her patio. I found it highly “coincidental” that of all the possible locations in a neighborhood literally of over 1000 homes and lots, the one right across from the complainer “happened” to be the only one available.
As my cousin fanned the flame of their mutual dislike at the first class, audibly muttering snarky comments, I assured her this location was no accident. Perhaps she and that neighbor were to work on mending the fence between them. I told her I’d grease the skids as I could since the complaining neighbor and I chat quite often. I was a bit under the weather, however, last week I so didn’t have the chance for as many of such interchanges as I had anticipated, perhaps a HaShem-intended break from my usual intermediary/peacemaker role. Perhaps a good lesson to me I’m thinking to allow others to work out their differences.
So earlier this week as we were joyfully dancing outdoors again, another of my neighbors stopped by to watch and encourage. She was the neighbor I introduced to you several weeks ago whose husband was stricken in his prime unexpectedly by a debilitating stroke. She was so uplifted by the music and the dancing, and it was such a gift to see her smile. At one point she stopped over to the complaining neighbor’s patio, as the two of them are very close, and said, “Why aren’t you dancing? This is so wonderful!” Clearly, objectively, the complaining neighbor might want to think about her attitude. . .
I don’t know the details, but I couldn’t help but see HaShem’s Hand in all of this – the perfect location for reconciliation between my cousin and the complainer to occur, the in-your-face opportunity for my cousin to work on her heart, the choice given to overcome self-centeredness and to be less judgmental by the complaining neighbor, all options our Abba is laying at His loved ones’ feet, offering ways to move closer toward lives of love. Perhaps HaShem is setting the stage for my cousin and the self centered neighbor to work out their differences, using my other neighbor as their ministering “angel” who only knows too well how life can change on a dime.
During these unusual times, especially as we are in close proximity with those we love, it seems we are given even more opportunities to make decisions that are less self centered, less judgmental, more understanding of the other, more loving. Our human skill sets are being challenged, and with daily closeness, we are given more chances to get it right.
As you interact with those you love this week, you will more easily be able to see, literally, those with whom you share this journey. Proximity may help you to more deeply understand their worldview as theirs and yours overlap. As this happens, I challenge you to step outside of your own, feel the other’s, and in so doing work toward those choices that make your common ground holy, of Him, of love.
Chag Pesach Sameach and Shabbat shalom.
P.S. I guess my peacemaker role is still to be part of my journey. As I was heading toward line dancing this morning on the lot across from the complaining neighbor’s patio, she called me over asking how Sid was doing. (Better, thank you, after a sports injury.) It didn’t take long for her real agenda to surface – couldn’t I talk to my cousin about her class? I had already asked my cousin last week to work out her differences with the neighbor, to no avail. Long story short, so many misunderstandings were aired (devil ain’t lazy clearly at work). Through our conversation, the neighbor was also able to hear my cousin’s side, and later I told my cousin the neighbor’s side, as I still encouraged both to talk directly.
So wonderful when I could see the changes of heart on their faces as each was able to understand the other. I’m hopeful that the two are headed for an ultimate reconciliation. They may never be best buds, but clearly will be able to be cordial to each other, and at least not think that the other hates her!
Lot of light shined on some very old chametz that was cleaned away, allowing each to become closer to a dwelling place for Him.