Previously published. All rights reserved.

As I began this chapter, my family and I are in *transition. We currently live in an upstairs apartment. There are two bedrooms and four children. Our oldest comes to visit throughout the week, and when he does, he crashes on the couch. Our other children are girls ranging in ages 5-8, and they share a bedroom. We are in the process of moving; boxing up our stuff while still attempting to function in a space that is a bit crowded, to say the least.

Below us is an apartment where a lady with a “nervous condition” lives with a man that I suspect adds to her condition. Not an ideal spot to be in when just a few short feet above you three active children dwell. However, we proactively attempt to show the lady downstairs respect, and in the process “demand” that our children conduct themselves in a manner totally opposite to who they are. Children and noise tend to be synonymous. It’s a fact, and if you don’t believe me, go and check out your local early childhood center.

Or your local adult night club. We never quite grow out of it.

So we have had to deal with the police coming to our door on more than one occasion, questioning our noise levels. Usually the sight of three young children explains the situation before we ever say a word. And typically, after a few moments with our neighbor, the police depart; asking us to “try and keep it down.”

As I mentioned, we are in transition.

Is my neighbor my enemy? Not in my eyes. Is she a pain in the butt? Absolutely. Do I hate her? No way. As a matter of fact, I love her. I also pray for her, and I don’t mean in a “Lord please straighten this woman out” sort of way. I simply pray for her to be blessed. Perhaps that may manifest itself as she watches us carrying our last box of stuff out. I don’t know.

But whether it’s a neighbor calling the cops on you, the gossiper at work, the family member who just refuses to let that one past issue die or the guy that stole “your” parking space; we all seem to have people we encounter who appear to be “out to get us.”

Jesus says to love these people.

Love your ex. Love your abuser. Love your accuser. Love the abortionist. Love the child molester. Love. Love. Love!

“Hold on there now Joe, you have crossed a line with that “child molester” statement.” I believe that line was drawn in the sand 2,000 years ago when Jesus came to the defense of a “whore.” And I will cross it as often as it takes.

“But this doesn’t make any sense. It goes completely against our nature.”

Our “human” nature.

That is the point. In order to get out of our humanity, we must tap into our Spirituality. We must flip everything right side up. Swim against the current. Go against the grain.



*Since I first wrote these words in 2012, we have remained in a perpetual state of “transition.” We have moved 4 times as a family. God is good!!!