Monday, September 15, 2008

Loving Your Neighbor

We have an interesting neighborhood - no major issues, but we all have our own little quirks. Mrs. L lives on one side: she is 84 years old, and moved to the neighborhood when her children were teens. We occasionally chat over the fence, but honestly don't interact all that often. She's extremely hard of hearing, and even with her hearing aids she only seems to catch about half of what I say (meanwhile, I'm practically shouting). To make things even more interesting, she frankly is not a happy person and her language is rather salty.

I stopped to say hello this morning after taking D to school. Mrs. L told me that she'd just finished watching mass, which she does each morning at 9. I get a disapproving scowl from her when she asks if we're Catholic, and I reply no, that we attend another church (which we've talked about in the past). I start to say more, but she doesn't notice I'm speaking and moves on to the topic of my hair. She asks if it's naturally curly, and somehow that leads to the &*!@ price of perms these days. She asks if our boy likes school, and she tells me how her oldest son used to come home for lunch when he was in 1st grade, then cry when she made him go back to school in the afternoon. We talk about the weather, and she complains that the rain has made her grass grow and her %!?* grandson needs to come over and mow. She comments that hubby's car is gone, so he must be at work, which is a good thing since the $+#% bills keep coming, and our electric bill must be especially high since we run our air conditioner so much (huh?!?). By this time, A has grown restless and really wants to go home, so she begins pulling on my arm a bit. Mrs. L notices, and essentially dismisses me, but not before encouraging us to stop by more often.

So how do I respond to all this? How can I love my neighbor? I know she's lonely and want to reach out, but to be perfectly honest I don't want the kids hearing her language. I've taken her baked goods a couple times, and while she's not been rude, she didn't really seem to want them, either. How would Jesus handle a nearly deaf, crotchety person?

6 comments:

jacki jones said...

Send a card instead of baked goods(I hear you're pretty good at making cards) The next time you talk to her and she uses one of those !@#$ words, cover your daughters ears with your hands. See if she get's the hint that those words just aren't cute when your daughter starts to comment loudly in the grocery store about the !@#$# price of animal crackers.

Jeff & Meg said...

Umm..good question. We had a neighbor like that at our old place and we were at a loss, too. We tried to help her out, but she never seemed to respond to it, even though she wanted help. And the language, I second the 'covering the ears' thing. Maybe she'll get the hint. And maybe she won't.

So what would you recommend doing about a neighbor who walks around in her nightgown OUTSIDE ALL DAY LONG!!!??? We have that going on and its a little bizarre. Nothing like enjoying your dinner until you look up to see a strange woman planting a tree in her satin nightie. Why, oh, why!?

Becca said...

Is it possible for you to go visit without your children in tow? I'd work it around their schedules, pray for her and ask for wisdom in how best to love this prickly woman.

Shay said...

I have no advice but you totally made me laugh with your descriptions! :P

Dapoppins said...

What she wants is company. Or flowers. Old people seem to like flower bouquets. But not usually food, because they never eat.

she sounds like my grandma. Who is a heavy smoker and has salty language too...

If you ask her not to talk that way she might try. I am sure she understands that you don't want your kids using those words.

In Pursuit of His Call said...

Your cards are a great testimony and encouragement!

Prayer...