Friday, September 20, 2013

that old golden rule

do you remember learning the golden rule when you were a kid?
i was brought up in a family that followed jesus' teachings, so we heard it often, but even if you weren't, i'm guessing you heard it at least once as a child.

do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
love your neighbor as yourself.

i don't know about you, but it seems pretty basic, right?
i think it always seemed to me growing up
as if that was kind of a freebie in the land of rules to live by.
do unto others as you'd have them do unto you...easy! right?
i mean, why would you do anything else?

except that i had no idea. it's so hard.
so, very hard to care as much about the people around you as you care for yourself.
in fact, i think it might just be one of the very hardest- if not the hardest- things to live out.

we have a monthly neighborhood meeting where we live, in part because we live in a high crime neighborhood so neighborhood meetings are a way to support the police efforts in our city and to build community between neighbors, which leads to less crime. but also? i think it's just a good idea to sit in a room with all the people who live around you but who you might not always see. neighbors who know each other are a good thing. you care about what you see every day, which is one reason matt and i live on this street in the first place.
it's often infuriating and frustrating and annoying and slow. but i love it anyway.

last night it was a bit deflating to discuss a move towards private security in an attempt to reduce property crime and theft. in theory a proactive way to deal with neighbors valid grief over break-ins and theft. but i wonder how it shows a love for one's neighbor as oneself. it feels more like covering one's personal bases more than gathering together as a neighborhood to push against negative elements like criminal activity.

how do i care as much about my neighbor's house as my own? how do i make what matters to them matter to me? the discussion was often heated and passionate, and there were definitely people there who it would be hard for me to love as myself. hard for me to want to advocate for or with. i don't know, the golden rule is hard. but there's also beauty in the messiness of loving people not like you. it sort of shapes you into something more kind and compassionate and real to let go of some of what you care about as your ultimate goal and to care about someone else too? so hoping that i know how to love my neighbors in these conversations about how to address crime, in living next to each other, in working towards a better neighborhood and city.

1 comment:

  1. It's so great that you continue to attend and continue to try. These are such big issues within communities, neighborhoods, and organizations. Being human and loving each other and pursuing polices/procedures/process/functions that meet the needs of the whole is hard hard work. Acknowledge. Exhale a bit. Carry on.


Hi friends! This is where you talk back to me. :) Easy peasy: write your comment, then scroll down where it says "comment as" to identify yourself (if you want to just write your name click Name/URL or just click anonymous. xoxoxoxo