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Thursday, September 2, 2010

I love me some messy and nosey people!

Our communities are in disarray. In many ways it is because of our apathetic attitudes about our own surroundings. It is too much of a hassle to try to improve our communities or it is too dangerous or we would like to think that our lives are so important that we lack sufficient time to be concerned. We tend to believe that the rain will not fall on all of us when we see thunder and lightning. The rain eventually leaves the whole ground wet. It always picks spots at the beginning of a storm but watch long enough and you will see that everything is wet. Even with an umbrella, the ground underneath your feet gets soaked, no matter where you move to.

We would like to insulate ourselves from the ills of the world, and in our immediate communities. That kid that is selling drugs on your corner is not your problem as long as he leaves you and yours alone. The neighbor who is sick is none of your concern. The children on the street who have no fathers but cry out the men in the neighborhood with their actions are to be left alone even though you are sure that they will soon become felons. Your friend is in an abusive relationship but you convince yourself that, “She knew what she was getting into to.” This is probably true, but does she know how to get out?

In our lives we have been convinced that those that show concern are nosey and refuse to mind their own business. My grandmother was one of these people. I learned later in my childhood that her nosiness was what kept the door’s of her neighbors from being kicked in. I learned that she was the first person the community called on when they needed, “someone”. I learned that to be involved when it is not your turn means that prayerful people will surround you when it is your turn. I learned that only the rats that were the thieves, killers, and perpetrators despised her nosiness. She knew where everyone was, where they were supposed to be, and when they were getting back!

In many ways I feel like a sellout. It is because I left the community that she loved so much because it was just too hard for me to raise my kids there. Although she encouraged me to move away, I can’t help but feel that my life is missing something very important. I knew each of her neighbors and they knew me. I knew not just the neighbors on her street but almost all of the people within a 1 mile radius. This is not true of my new and improved neighborhood. I am ashamed to admit that I don’t even know my next door neighbors name. Eight years I've been there and her name escapes me. My grandmother would scold me for this.

I promise that I will start today to be the person who is concerned about all of my community. It is what I come from. Your home’s concern shall be mine. Knock on my door when you need to borrow sugar, that is what neighbors are for. Ask me about my wife’s health. Ask me about my kid’s grades. It doesn’t bother me that my neighbors want to know who is at my house. If more neighbors were like that less crime would take place. Our communities are fragile and on the brink of becoming something other than communities. We need more nosey grandmothers. We need more people saying, “ Ha ya durin”, as my PawPaw would say to his neighbors and friends.

I really need you to be concerned with what is happening in my life and I need to be concerned with yours. Don’t worry if the old people talk about you. I promise you that you would rather they talk about you than them not being concerned about you. Neighbors that aren't nosey tend to be unconcerned also.

Ever notice that the families that are labeled, “messy” and "nosey" are the closest families in the hood? Ever notice that those messy people are usually unbothered by the criminals? (Well, sometimes thay are the criminals but that's besides the point)Ever notice that no one outside those families can bother anyone in them? There are some uncomfortable things that come with close families and communities, embrace them and deal patiently with them. If not, there are things far more uncomfortable to deal with alone. The nosey and messy people don’t bother me. I know that love is usually a by-product of the two. The ones that concern me are the ones that never have any mess going on and are not concerned with anything outside of their homes. Those are the ones that you can least count on. When you next experience real issues, watch closely those that are there! The messy and nosey ones, right!

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