From my back porch, I can see a mess. The yard is overgrown and unsightly. It hasn’t been mowed in two weeks. The grass is at least a foot tall.
One corner of the yard (the area closest to us) is growing a strange, thin grass because the barking, crazy dog keeps trampling this section as he tries to kill us.
The table and patio is littered with broken toys and cans of cigarette butts. A roll of wire fencing and PVC pipe is tossed on the deck to add a nice touch. Thankfully, a trampoline was added last year to give the place a touch of class.
And here is the thing; People in this neighborhood turn one another in for yards like this. They demand that the visible mess be cleaned up so that everyone feels better about the neighborhood.
But no one mentions the invisible mess. No one wants to address the broken lives and crying wives that live in the neighborhood. No one places a call concerning the wrecked homes, the isolated families, the hurting children, the failing marriages. Keep your outside cleaned up and your messy lives to yourselves. Just keep the doors shut and the windows closed and we’ll all be happier.
It’s easier to send a letter about overgrown grass than engage the dysfunction that leads to a life of chaos. It’s cleaner to call the homeowner’s association instead of knocking on the door and entering into conversation.
Yes, I know that you can’t fix crazy and sometimes getting involved is messy. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. It isn’t always a storybook ending. But it is time to engage the broken hearts or ignore the messy yards. It’s time to be neighbors rather than strangers. When is the last time you went calling? When is the last time you spoke over the fence?
Now, if you will excuse me, I have some cookies to bake and a neighbor to visit.