Three college guys moved into the place directly below us. One of them kindly came up to introduce himself and said to let them know if it gets too noisy because they have a basketball set-up inside their place… which explained the thumping!
One night as it was getting late, a party began downstairs with loud music and pounding bass. It was 10:30 PM. On a weeknight. Noise like that can bother Rob but he decided to just let it go.
Rob stepped out on the balcony for a moment, and he noticed something unusual — a tow truck hooking up to a car from the party. Rob hurried downstairs and knocked on their door. They had to step outside to hear and Rob said, “They’re about to tow your car.”
“Oh man!” They ran out and begged the guy not to tow the car (while other guests moved the extra cars). Miraculously, he agreed.
Rob was a hero!
Now that’s not the main point – that’s the kind of thing Rob does without a second thought. He helps people with directions or in some other way being a good neighbor – or a good dad!
Instead, look at this from the guys’ point of view.
Here they are throwing a party at 10:30 p.m. on a weeknight. We already know they’re aware of being not too noisy and don’t want to trespass on neighbors’ goodwill. So here comes the upstairs neighbor to knock on their door. What was their immediate thought? “Here’s this guy to tell us were being too loud and could we turn it down.” At least that’s what I would have thought — a reasonable assumption, and a completely reasonable request, too. We have to respect each other and Rob had every right to ask them to turn it down, even complain about it.
Instead Rob saved them some $200, lots of time and hassle, and the loss of an otherwise fun evening. He came back with a big smile on his face: mission accomplished! I said, “I bet you’re a hero right now.” He said, “I sure am. They love me!”
Now, I don’t say this just to pat Rob on the back – he happened to be in the right place at the right time. If he hadn’t stepped out on the balcony when he did, he wouldn’t have seen the tow truck. But how much fun he had being a good neighbor.
I say it because it’s just not that hard to be nice. Sure it’s easy to get bent out of shape, complain, even let ‘em have it.
But it’s also not that hard to imagine what the other person might be experiencing and treat them as you would want them to treat you, and somehow we forget to do it.
We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps your gay neighbor who keeps to himself. Surprise him with an introduction and a kind word. Who knows what may happen?
Here I know that instead of being the grouch upstairs from these college guys, Rob is the cool, nice, hip neighbor!