As I began a walk around the block, I turned north to avoid Julia standing in her driveway to the south. We weren’t speaking to each other; not since our session with a city mediator concerning the common property line. The problem got solved, but Julia and I still weren’t talking. Neither of us seemed interested in it.
I knew God wanted me to forgive her. Wasn’t it enough that I left Julia alone – no rudeness, no gossip, no pettiness? I probably shouldn’t have been avoiding her. I just didn’t want to chat with her. What did I have to say to her? If God wanted more friendliness from me to her, he’d show
Next door to my north, I noticed Sharon tending her fabulous front-yard vegetable garden. We talked about her basil and horseradish. She asked for a hand to lift and reposition a wooden garden bench. We easily managed it together.
One door farther on, Ron approached his two-storey colonial house, returning from his daily walk. He pointed out to Sharon and me the place where he had seen a wild rabbit. We chuckled about the bunny and all Sharon’s tempting veggies just beginning the summer growing season.
I rounded the corner and saw Kathy talking with another woman in the doorway of her bungalow.
We all waved and greeted one another as I walked by. “You always say hello to everyone!” Kathy called. Well, almost everyone.
Down the way, Dawn spotted me. “How’s it going? Haven’t seen you for a while. Sometimes I honk when I drive by you, when I see you walking. But you’re usually in a daze,” she laughed.
I asked about her kids, and had she seen the wild rabbit? No rabbit, but her boys were starting base-ball season.
I made the last turn for home. Pete was out mowing his lawn. The air carried hints of fresh-cut grass. I shouted, “Hello there, Pete!” and he waved back.
Three houses from home I spied Julia, still out in her driveway, or maybe she had gone in and come out again. My mouth, which hadn’t much closed on my entire walk, let out, “Hi, Julia!” I couldn’t help it. Had I put aside memories of the conflict? Right then I did.
Taken aback by my words, she responded weakly, “Oh, hi.”
I smiled, happily accepting credit for what was nothing but a team effort.
–Genie Dickerson lives in Bellevue, Washington. This piece originally appeared in the summer 2011 issue of The Lutheran Digest.