We Interrupt This Self-Improvement Project to Deal With A Family Crisis…

An Open Letter to “Anonymous:”

You’re not, of course. Anonymous that is. Many things in the report you filed point directly to you. And you’re the only one of all of our neighbors who can no longer look us in the eye. Your embarrassment is warranted. But I wonder- are you waiting for a reaction? We’ve decided not to give you one. Not in person anyway. We are responding to your hate with love, because that’s how we live as a family.

But since your action has caused me to disappear from writing for a week, and because let’s face it, I need to get my response out somewhere and some of the report suggests that perhaps you read my blog, I offer you this.

I forgive you.

I am praying for you.

And I thank you.

I forgive you for the feeling in my stomach when I opened the door and saw the badge. I forgive you for the way my body ran cold when he asked me if I knew what his department does. Yes, of course I knew. I’m a teacher. I didn’t know why he was at my door, but I knew what he does.

I forgive you for the few moments when I feared something had happened at school. Because obviously nothing had happened at home that warranted a visit from child services.

I forgive you for the way I felt as he read the accusations you had slung. The suggestion that we weren’t proper parents. That we were dirty, stinky people. That you feared we were hoarders. That you didn’t think we knew how to take care of African-American hair. That we had no discipline or control over our child.

I forgive you for the sore throat and swollen eyes from crying, and the sleepless nights. I forgive you for the way you made me question myself. For making us walk on egg shells for three weeks. I forgive you for the old wounds you opened.

And it’s really difficult, but I forgive you for what you did to my child. The way you hurt her feelings by saying she was still in diapers. She has been potty-trained for years. Accusing a big girl of being a baby- those are fighting words. And I forgive you for scaring her and confusing her. How she’s afraid all the time that someone is going to call the police on her. I forgive you for making my beautiful child think she did something wrong.

I forgive you for taking over my thoughts and feelings and actions for the past several weeks. I forgive you, because forgiveness is an action, not a feeling. My heart remains angry and sad. But I choose to forgive you.

I’m praying for you. I know you’ve suffered major loss, this year in particular. I know you’re lonely. I know you must long to have the love we have as a family. I know the feeling of seeing others around you be happy while your heart’s desire goes unfulfilled. So I’m praying for you. Praying that your heart be healed, and that you find love. But most importantly I’m praying that you seek a relationship with God. That’s where our love comes from, you know. It’s not because we are without trials. You provided a trial in our life after all. But as a family we get through difficult times because we trust God. We trust His plan. We’ve seen our prayers answered. And I pray the same for you.

And it is with those prayers in mind that I thank you.

I thank you for giving us a worst-case scenario. You brought to reality something all parents worry about on some level. What if someone turns me in for being a bad parent?

And so the authorities came.

And you know what they discovered?

That we’re really good parents of a really great kid who happens to have a really nasty neighbor. Not everyone gets that kind of validation. So I thank you.

I thank you for our new apartment. The one that is $100 a month less than we currently pay. The one with the giant back yard right down by the park. The one with a huge attic. The one that gets us away from you. Without your phone call we wouldn’t have been looking. But now we move to a better situation in one month. So I thank you.

And I thank you for giving me such a concrete example of God using trial to bring rewards. I hope our story is able to inspire others. And it’s all because you didn’t want us living next door. So I thank you. And others who will hear our story thank you.

Last summer my daughter set up a free lemonade stand for her neighbors. She did it because she loves them. So I thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk to her about the actions of others. How sometimes people do things that aren’t nice, and we can’t really understand why. You turned her lemonade into lemons. So I thank you for the lesson.

I also thank you for the opportunity to use the phrase “lemonade into lemons.”

With forgiveness, prayer, and thanks,
The Person Who Won’t Be Your Neighbor Much Longer

Now that the case has been closed (because there was never a case, only an accusation…) I no longer have to focus on preparing for an inspection that never should have happened.

And so. I now return you to our regularly-scheduled Project 40.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amy
    May 18, 2014 @ 23:17:20

    Thank you for sharing your unbelievable journey of forgiveness, faith, and thanks. I admire you for what you’ve done.


  2. Erin Bennedum
    May 19, 2014 @ 09:33:41

    You are badass, mama! It’s far more difficult to love than hate – thank you for your amazing example of exactly how to do it with grace!


  3. Erin
    May 19, 2014 @ 10:22:51

    Ugh. I was angry at this person just reading your post. I am amazed that you are able to show such love and forgiveness in the face of such nastiness. It is heartbreaking that anyone could say such things 😦

    But yay for a new apartment away from negativity!


  4. Trackback: How to Run the Soft Reset on your Life | Thoroughly Modern Mommy

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