Conflict resolution has to start with somebody. It might as well be me.
I opened the front door and it assaulted me! I screamed across the cul-de sac to no avail until I said: "Cut that Crap off!"
Two young people, one adult and the other a teen approached. The young woman calmly expressed "My momma pays rent just like you do over here. I will turn it down, but not off."
Upset, I determined rent has nothing to do with blasting the neighborhood with profane music.
"Blast your music in your rented house then," I spit back at her.
As she spoke I smelled liquor and knew that I would not be able to reason with her. "You reek of liquor," came out of my mouth with such venom and judgment that she started to become emotionally volatile.
I warned them, "I am calling the police!" She continued to use vile language because I had upset her when she had approached me with a measure of reason on her side. "Get off," I said pointing to the yard of my rented property.
I was amazed at level of anger and how wickedly I behaved toward my neighbor. I even had my shirt off like I was going to fight!
The boy that was with her had concern in his eyes because we knew each other, but I dismissed that because of the woman cursing at me for telling her what to do at her mother's rented house while standing in front of my rented house.
I called the police, 911. I told them what was going on and was directed to the non-emergency line.
The NON-emergency line! It was not an emergency.
I thought about the police coming to my rented house or going to their rented house. We are both Americans with African descent. They were drinking and playing loud music. I was upset about it, that young woman had become crass and combative.
Those young boys at that house were large, tall, Black boys--intimidating to those who may not know them. They fit the profile for cops to shoot as has been in the news. I did not know what type of cop would pitch up if I called--the nice ones that ask them to keep the music down or the authoritative ones that would agitate things further.
I changed my mind and repented. I waited until I knew I was calm and went out to where there were about seven young men and women talking.
I saw Ree, the intoxicated and easily agitated woman to whom I spoke and apologized for my threatening language. I made peace. We are neighbors.
I can stand up for decency without involving anger and the police.
The last thing I want is to be the means of sending someone to jail or worse, death!
Black lives do matter. I did not understand what that meant until today. I don't agree with the organization that sponsors the big national movement, but I do agree that my neighbor's life matters more to me than for her to go to jail because she is inebriated and not fully intellectually there while being Black.
When I think of Black Lives, I think of all people of color. I think of my son and his friends also, who are Caucasian. My son's life matters to me and to them. His Black life matters. We are all connected by our associations. All lives matter.
My neighbor's life matters enough to try and resolve the issue peacefully rather than call the police immediately like did.
My neighborhood has seen enough conflict without bringing in the police. The police are out every night trying to catch fleeing criminals and I had the audacity to call them because my neighbor played her music too loudly!
The scriptures tell me to love my neighbor as I love myself. I would not want someone to call the police on me for playing my music too loudly. I would want that irritated person to come to me and tell me to turn it down respectfully.
I did not do that, but I made amends and repented of attempting to treat my neighbor differently than I would want to be treated.
O my people, beware lest there shall arise contentions among you, and ye list to obey the evil spirit... there is a wo pronounced upon him who listeth to obey that spirit; for if he listeth to obey him, and remaineth and dieth in his sins, the same drinketh damnation to his own soul; for he receiveth for his wages an everlasting punishment, having transgressed the law of God contrary to his own knowledge... Mosiah 2:32-33If I had continued to list to obey the evil spirit of pride that wanted to avenge my wounded ego that Ree used foul language and was inebriated publicly blasting loud music, events that followed could have radically changed her life and mine.
I would have died in my sins--figuratively first, of course --because hatred would rear its ugly head each time we saw each other. The kids would have felt awkward to associate anymore since the youngest son and daughter of that family went to school and Young Women's activities at church with my daughters. I could have started a rift that would destroy my own family's life.
My punishment for giving into this pride would have been no peace. I talked causally with the youth for about 20 minutes following my apology. I was introduced to another neighbor that I did not know. I was showered with attention and hails of respect.
One young man said that most people would have just called the police rather than talk to them. They all were shocked that I of all the neighbors went out to tell them anything about the music or the police.
I found that they held me, and my family in high esteem. I did not know that, but because I repented, I found out something good about my neighbors that I did not know before or would not have known had I crossed that line into feuding.
They are people. All we have to do is speak respectfully and try to come to a mutual agreement so that we can all feel comfortable in the neighborhood.
Ree, ol' crazy self, told me that she was ready for the police. She, of course, was drunk. I noticed that the other people there, mostly youth, were not drunk or drinking. I at least know now that they are not bad people as has been rumored to me--at least were not towards me. That is a different issue, though....