Just under three months ago I wrote one of my most uncomplimentary blog posts about my neighbor, Charles Trnka. That post detailed one portion of what was then a neighborly discord that was had headed to the lawyers and could have headed to court.
Which would have been a terrible shame, since the Trnka’s had for years been our good Christian neighbors, and it looks like they have become such again. Hopefully we are being their good Christian neighbors, because at some point, in the view of some, we had also lost that appelation.
I might never know for sure what caused the change, but I know what I think is most likely. When the situation came to the lawyers, the lawyer helped mediate an understanding, and each side agreed to do certain things. We did ours, but saw no movement from the Trnka’s, except to badger us about more things. At that point I called them on it, said they were acting like children, and since we had yet to sign the agreement, I would withdraw my cooperation until they showed me theirs.
A short while later Charles came out and spoke peaceably to me, and soon began waving or nodding when we passed on the street. A bit later I complimented him on the good job he was doing on his new “project car”, and asked him where he learned to do mechanical and body work. That led to an extended conversation on our shared driveway where he told about learning to rebuild a car engine at age 16, back in the days when you couldn’t get away with just putting gas in a car for a year or more, but had to know a lot of different maintenance skills to keep it running. I saw a side of my neighbor I hadn’t seen before and thanked him for sharing that part of his life story with me.
I know I said some unkind things about my neighbor previously. In that context they were true. In that context there doubtless are things , unkind things, that could have justly been said about me to. But just as those aren’t the only things to be said about me, neither are they the only things to be said about my neighbor. Nor was that the whole context about either of us. So now that I have an even better context, I thought I should share the story, to show that I aim to never write anyone or anything off. And sometimes a hard story, or a misunderstanding, when one quietly stands one’s ground and insists on respect, can lead to finding better understanding and truth and justice for all.