There are bad people in the world. People who will repay your kindness with scorn, people who may never even give you a chance. Who knows? Sometimes that bad person could even be you.
The truth is, none of us are perfect. We all have our own priorities and needs. We all try our best. Now, best is entirely subjective. My best might be providing inspiration and light to others, but the next person over's best could be hoarding all the land possible in an effort to live a secluded life.
This is what happened today.
My husband and I finally bought our dream house this year. We moved into a big house in a nice neighborhood with a good school district, friendly people, and really everything we'd always hoped for when it came to raising our daughter and possible future adopted children as well.
But dreams aren't always pleasant. Sometimes they are nightmares.
Our back yard neighbor started recording our yard and balcony and possibly into our house via the windows in order to prove that our dogs had crossed the wooded boundary between our lots. Never once did she talk to us, but instead she recorded for days and then called Animal Control to try to get our dogs taken away.
Imagine our surprise to open the door to that! Luckily, animal control was sympathetic and willing to help us out. So were the police and so was the Home Owner's Association. Our neighborhood does not allow above ground fences, you see, and an invisible, electric fence does not contain our large, stubborn Newfoundland who doesn't mind the shocks so long as he can go where he wants to go.
Long story short, the president of the HOA is working with us personally to file an appeal and get a fence between the two lots, and the mean neighbor has turned her camera away. If you want a more emotional, riveting telling of this tale, I invite you to look at my last half a dozen posts on Facebook!
All of this while very emotional and upsetting got me thinking too. I don't like to share the dark without also finding the light. There is always hope, always good. Always.
So what good could I find from obtrusive neighbor drama and a very expensive fence we must now build?
Well, this… You see, in the seven months since we purchased our dream home, we have met amazing, amazing people all around us. My daughter has started preschool and made friends for the first time in her life. I've even made friends with some of her friends' moms, and we recently had one big, happy outing to see Moana with the girls! Our neighborhood is friendly. When Falcon walks our Newfie Crash, everyone stops to say hi. Falcon and Crash even got to join the neighborhood watch.
I live close to many great author and publishing folks and have seen some of my online friends become real-life friends! I even get to serve on the board of the Ann Arbor Book Festival, which is pretty much a dream come true!
We feel safe, welcomed, and loved. We are all happy here. The pets have plenty of space to run both indoors and out. Our daughter is starting to develop her own social life, Falcon doesn't feel quite as lonely as he once did, and my online and real-life worlds are starting to merge in wonderful ways.
Our little Michigan suburb outside of Ann Arbor truly feels like all the fictional towns I write about in my books. You know, those small towns with friendly people who just want the best for each other. It's wonderful! Even on election day this year, when the whole country was at each other's throats, the people at our polling location were smiling, chatting with each other, and being kind and helpful. It was honestly the best experience I had with the whole 2016 election, and I told the volunteers so right after thanking them for their service!
The point is: life is good in so many ways. Not just for me, but for all of us. Even the worst situations can shine light on how much we have to be thankful for. Yes, I was completely shocked at the outrageous behavior of this neighbor, but that also shows how amazing every other person I've met in my new town is.
And even as I was ranting and raving and crying and what-have-you on Facebook, hundreds of my friends rallied behind me. So many people who have never met me in person, but they care deeply about my well being, and they want to help. How did I get so lucky?
I believe we are all lucky. I believe there is good in every situation, and we are all very blessed even when we can't necessarily see that in the moment. The next time something awful has you shaking your fists, yelling, and just filled with worry, take a step back. How can the bad shine a light on all the good that you already have?
Don't let anyone steal your joy. It's up to you to focus on the many great things. They make the bad seem much less scary 😉