There was a knock at my door, and I was a bit perturbed by the inconvenience. You see, a knock at my door is not just as simple as answering it. I have a 4 year old that refuses to wear pants or underwear at home. We are trying, but he is as stubborn as his mom. I also have a Great Dane that wants to eat anything that come near me, until I invite them into the house, then he loves them.
So a knock on my door results in a fast paced rush to wrestle the 4 year old into at least some underwear, control the Dane, wipe the sweat from doing it all in less than a minute, and answering the door trying not to sound like I am as out of shape as I apparently am.
Inconvenience aside, I answer the door. It's my neighbor from across the way. I said hello, and the next thing out of his mouth had my stunned and confused. "I'm so sorry." With a look of utter confusion, my mind raced to figure out what he could be sorry for. We often smile and wave to each other. This summer, he came over and gave me advice on my front yard work. On Christmas Eve, he brought over cookies. I just couldn't imagine what he could be sorry for. He giggled a gentle laugh and stated, "I know, you have no idea, but I need to apologize." He went on to tell me that he and his family have talked about my family off and on for the past two years we have lived here. He told me about the "tsk's" and "for shame" comments that he has his family made amongst themselves regarding my parenting skills, my gardening skills, and my home-owner skills. He then told me about how he found out about my son's Auto-Immune disorder, the struggle to keep him healthy, the multiple doctor and hospital visits, the financial and time burden that was added, and how I navigate all of this while also managing my other children and have a home based business. He told me that he was ashamed of his prior comments and ashamed that he and his family had passed such judgements from their front room. He went on to let me know that he was just a wave away and if I needed anything that a humbled old man could do to help, I was just to let him know. Folks, his apology wasn't to make things right with me, it was to make things right for him. I could have chosen to be hurt, angry, and upset at his revelations, or I could have chosen to be thankful that a valuable lesson was learned and reinforced today. I chose to accept his apology and assure him that often times we will never know the whole story and that's okay. I told him that we must choose to be kind, even when we feel like we are seeing something that isn't right in our own eyes. I spent some time answering his questions about what life is like for us in the Drake house and learned about life in his house. We ended with a hug and a deeper more meaningful blossoming friendship. My friends, always choose to be kind. We truly never really know what others are dealing with.