I’ve been up for a few hours this morning. Something went “BANG” in the night and I’ve not been able to get back to sleep. So, after an hour of restless tossing and turning, I went down stairs, I brewed a pot of coffee and came into my study to pay some bills, catch up on some email and do some writing.
As you know, the days here in Indiana have been beautiful and the nights have been even better. All the windows in the house are open and the early morning air is gently drifting in. From where I sit, I hear the robins beginning to come alive as the night turns to dawn. I hear a dog collar jingle as a dedicated owner takes them for a VERY early morning stroll. I hear the paper being delivered, one house at a time. But a few minutes into my solitude, the relative silence of the morning was broken by the metallic ringing of my neighbor’s alarm clock. It went off around 5:00 a.m. and I was surprised; first by my ability to hear the clock and then the clarity in which it rang throughout the neighborhood and finally by something I’d never considered before: My neighbor is sleeping a few hundred feet from my bed and tonight we are only separated by our yards and a couple layers of window screen.
In fact, when we come right down to it, ALL my neighbors are doing the same thing. No matter how hard we try, no matter how many fences we build or walls we put up, we live very similar lives to those around us. We might not like to admit it but the truth is that our lives are all very similar. We go to bed and set an alarm. We wake to that alarm. We prepare for our days. We eat our meals, pay our bills, sweep our floors. We all do laundry. We all wash our dishes. We all mow our yards. And except for Mr. Jenkins who wears Kilts, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.
So before I go and judge my neighbor for what he said, what she did, what they meant by that, why they make those choices…perhaps I should listen for their alarm and pray that their sleep will be restful, their days blessed, their home happy. After all, it is what I want for my own house. And in truth, we aren’t that different after all.