Thursday, February 25, 2010

I almost punched my neighbor in the face - [south Mpls Urban Neighbor]

The verb form of 'love' has taken on a whole new meaning for myself. about a week ago, i almost punched my neighbor, Carl in the face. Seriously. Almost struck him with my fist in the facial region. With an open hand, he hit me across the face, trying to kid around while we were discussing why he can't wrestle with the neighbor kids.

Just a bit of background: Carl is a fifty-year old man with significant mental and emotional issues, the product of a traumatic childhood filled with abuse and neglect. So, in general, dealing with Carl is like dealing with a 10-12 year old mentally and emotionally. I have to keep this in mind, but it is tough sometimes. Back to the story...

The day before he had jumped in on the kids wrestling on our front porch, and obviously, that just can't happen. he doesn't realize his strength, nor his age, both of which will put him in jail should someone decide his actions are inappropriate.

So there we were, in his doorway, when he slapped me, and i raised my hand to strike him in the chin. I altered the hand into a very intense pointed finger, sternly told him never to hit my face again, and slowly walked away; furious, but also shocked by my response. I emailed my mentor and said we needed to chat. i didn't know how to tackle the situation. i couldn't figure out how to make sure it didn't happen again (my reaction.) I was totally clueless, and so i figured he might have some advice for me. I learned that there might be a piece of me, in loving Carl, hoping to see change. change in his temper, change in how he deals with situations, a change towards more responsible actions. But as Mr. X informed me, that form of love is 'close, but not quite.' What i have for Carl may not be love with strings, as i'm not looking for anything in return, but it's probably love with expectations. And perhaps, that lack of fulfillment of my expected results over a drawn out period of time, is what led me to momentarily believe punching earl in the face was alright. When a mother or father bathes their little one, it's not with the expectation that they'll never poop their pants or play in the dirt again. the parent washes the kid because the kid needs washing. we love our neighbor because our neighbor needs loving. i now realize that i have to find which part of me is expecting my words and actions to bring change, kill it, and replace it with a moment by moment mindset of pouring out love which forgets the past and doesn't look into the future.

i think this mindset, this way of loving, will keep me from knocking Carl out cold.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Not living for "what if's"...

Dan Hunt, the Director of Housing for Urban Homeworks, donated his kidney to one of our family tenants today. Read the whole story on the KARE 11 website and keep Dan, Sherry and their families in your prayers.