Skip to main content

The House Next Door

In a working-class neighborhood in Cleveland, it is discovered that the owner - a guy known for hosting barbecues and playing salsa music - was holding and torturing three women in his house for ten years. No one in the neighborhood had a clue.

There is a woman who lives down the street from us. She is married, has a couple of kids. Their home is beautiful - a showpiece, really. In the 10 years or so that they've lived there, I have never once seen her smile. I've waved as she walks her dog, picked up the mail at the mail box, said a hello. Never smiled.

We have friends who are as poor as church mice. They live in an older home that is sort of cobbled together, and bursts with the enthusiasm of their five kids. When you visit, you often have to clear a space on the table that is wedged into the kitchen, or shoo a cat off an old rocking chair in the living room. It's one of the warmest, most hospitable homes I've ever been in.

We make assumptions about the people that live around us, especially when we hardly know them, or think we do. We no longer live in a society where are neighborhoods are social places - we are all inside, on our computers. Or our houses are empty during the day, everyone at work and school. We feign politeness, but don't really care. We're too busy with ourselves and our lives.

We judge though - those people don't take care of their lawn, their kids aren't very well-behaved, the house needs a paint job. But judging isn't knowing, and we don't really want to know, because then we'd be responsible. And we've got enough to do already.

That house next door - do you know what's going on? Do you care?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…