23 October, 2016

By Anna DeCrans, edited by Erin Kelly-Collins, both Urban Homeworks staff

The Urban Neighbors who live above Betty’s apartment woke to loud arguing voices and slamming doors late one evening a couple weeks ago. They were concerned about domestic abuse, so they called 911 and asked for the police to come. After the police had dispersed, Betty (not her real name) and her family felt completely disrespected by the Urban Neighbors.

“I’m mad,” Betty told my coworker Anna the next morning. “You know, I told the girls upstairs that if they hear anything, if they think I’m being too loud, they can just knock on my door or ring the doorbell and we’ll quiet down,” she said. “I’m angry they called the police.  They didn’t need to do that.”

“Betty, what do you think the girls upstairs were thinking?” Anna responded. “Try to see it from their perspective.  All they knew was that you might’ve been in danger and it could have jeopardized their own safety if they knocked on your door last night. They figured calling the police was probably their only choice.  They didn’t know if you were hurt…”

“Oh, I didn’t look at it like that.  Yeah, they were looking out.  They’ve been helping me a lot actually – asking me if I need groceries, helping me into my house when I couldn’t walk up stairs after I got hurt a while back. I get it.”

A couple days later, I heard from one of Betty’s upstairs neighbors. She told me they’d had an opportunity to reconnect with Betty and set up a plan to help with meals and transportation as she continues to recover from her injury. She was glad that Betty understood and that she could trust them again. Trust, in a situation that could have torn neighbors apart, was strengthened between Betty and the women upstairs because they were willing to learn from each other. Praise the Lord.

What have you learned from your neighbors?