Tolerance, A Lesson For Myself

Dear World,

Tolerance or toleration a fair, objective, and permissive attitude towards those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own.

I think that we all tolerate a lot. I tolerate the race car driver that thinks it is ok to travel forty miles per hour over the speed limit and cut me off. I tolerate the people that walk through my back yard to get to a park just to save themselves ten extra steps. I tolerate the people that throw their trash all over my street each day. I tolerate a lot and the list has barely begun. The thing is, that I may tolerate but I certainly don’t agree and in almost all of the cases I would rather not tolerate. I read this definition and think of the people that I tolerated just today. I am all for tolerance by the way, but it is difficult. Just this morning as I walked Cassidy to the bus stop I was given a perfect chance to teach my daughter tolerance.

A long story short, a neighbor of ours backed into our car causing some visible damage. He had the opportunity to do the right thing and he passed it up. Needless to say, this neighbor is not on my list of people I’d like to have over for dinner, let alone my list of people I’d like to speak to and yet each time we cross paths I feel obligated to wave and say hello.

This is one of those “hellos” that really burns me up. I’m just not sure of what to do about it. It would be very easy to hate this man. It would be easy to never wave and look the other way when he passes. It would be easy to tell the neighborhood about our encounter with him so that they could all feel the same way that I do. All of these things would be easy, and I think they would feel really good… for a moment. The trouble is, the time and work it would take to keep up on my neighbor feud would be exhausting.

I can’t lie, I did remove this man from the Christmas cookie list last year. Sadly, I it was my way of getting even with him, (yes I know it is only cookies) but I have thought about it often since. I feel bad for cutting him off of the list even though it is only cookies. I feel bad because I know deep down that I’m holding a grudge. Deep down I know that I was given the chance to do the right thing and I am passing it up with every “fake friendly” wave and hello.

Even worse than feeling bad about the cookies, I think about what kind of a lesson  I have taught Cassidy and Jacob? What would the Voice have to say about my actions? Brian has been very good at holding a grudge in the past. He has gotten much better over the years but I have always tried to steer him to the side of letting it go and here I am holding a grudge. Even as I wave and say my “fake friendly” hello, I am secretly snickering because I know I don’t really mean it. When did I turn into such a nasty person?

When I waved this morning I knew right away that it would be my topic for tonight. I’ve known for a while now that what I am doing is not right. I need to make a decision to let it go. What gain do I have from continuing to secretly dislike my neighbor? I may be showing my children tolerance but I am not showing them how to be a good person. It takes more than tolerating to be kind. That is the lesson I should be teaching.

Tomorrow when I walk to the school bus I am going to make my wave meaningful. Cassidy will probably not notice the difference but in my heart, I will. If I have the opportunity to say “how are you doing” I am going to actually listen to the answer instead of acting like I could care less. I believe this is part of  the problem with today.

We all cry out for tolerance in one form or another. We want everyone on an even playing field. The problem is that tolerance is not enough. It never will be. It is the bear minimum that we can do. I can tolerate my neighbor or I can do so much more. I can be a kind hearted person that can forgive and forget. I can set an example for my children, my husband and my community.

I said in the beginning that tolerance is very difficult to do. It is hard to have a permissive attitude when you know you disagree with someone or something. That said it is not an answer to problems. I can’t continue living here seeing this man day after day and only tolerating his existence.

I have always believed that the more you sew, the more you reap. This is one case that I only bothered to sew a few seeds because I felt it wasn’t worth any more. I am reaping nothing from this situation and so as of tomorrow I am planning to change.  I am uncertain what good will come of my genuine wave tomorrow but I am sure that I will feel better for letting the grudge go. Step one; Tolerance Step two; More than tolerance.

Thanks for reading!

Love, Cherise

P.S. Don’t worry, our neighbor just might get to taste some cookies after all. I am thankful for the change in my heart and the new perspective!

4 thoughts on “Tolerance, A Lesson For Myself

  1. I have a neighbor that I do not tolerate….such a long story, but he was rude to Pappy after Pap mowed his lawn….It was originally something that Connor had set up to do weekly. When Connor could no longer do it, the guy asked my Dad if he wanted to do it. Pappy said that he would do it for 20 bucs a week. Really a cheap price considering that it was being done with my lawnmower. After the grass was mowed, the neighbor came over and gave my Dad 15 bucs. I was like, wait a minute, the agreed amount was 20 bucs. This guy argued with me for 20 minutes on how he wasn’t going to pay my nearly 80 year old father an extra 5 dollars. I was all colors of red. Sadly, I did not do the right thing as I ripped this guy apart with my words. I wanted to hurt him. This happened 4 years ago and I still can’t stomach this arrogant guy. I do not wave or talk to him. Having said all of that I am not really showing the love of Christ at all. I was really convicted by your post-in a good way. Maybe I will ask God to give me the courage to swallow my hurt and pride and wave to him…talking to him might require a miracle. Thanks for your words!

    • Debbie, I had no idea about this neighbor. It really is terrible when you feel the feud with someone who lives so close. It is taxing for sure. I think in my case it just wasn’t something that I felt was worthy of being mad forever. I was for sure holding a grudge and I find that to be exhausting. I can certainly relate to your story though. Anyone that wants to rip off Pappy Bob…. WOW is all I have to say. I really do hope that someday it works itself out though. Swallowing hurt and pride is a big pill but I have faith that when the time is right you will. As for the talking… miracles do happen! Just maybe not today:)

  2. Cherise-
    First off, I really enjoy your blog. I think it is a great tool to release stress and emotion in a very positive way. It is a tremendous gift that you have given to your friends and loved ones and thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts with us.
    When it comes to this post about tolerance, I’m about 75% with you. We do tolerate ALOT!! Sometimes simply signing into facebook is the ultimate test of ones tolerance. At least four or five times a day, I will read something and have to take a deep breath and say, “It’s ok. It’s ok that this person feels this way or that way. We are all entitled to our opinion as long as it’s not hurting someone.” The world is full of intolerant people who feel the need to spew anger and hatred in every medium they can.
    Where I “disagree” with you is with you beating yourself up over “just being tolerant” of some things. I applaud your convictions and desire to be a better person, but there are many things out there that the best you can do is simply tolerate them. This does not make you a bad person.
    I have wanted all my life to end up in a neighborhood where everyone knows one another and looks out for one another and for the most part, I’ve found just that. There are a few people however that don’t return my waves, avoid conversations when they see two or three other neighbors out socializing, and just want to live their own seperate (and what I believe to be miserable) lives. That is their choice to live this way and as long as you are not wishing ill will upon any of them, you are a better person. I hope you find what you are looking for with this neighbor, but know that even if nothing grows out of it, sometimes tolerance is enough.
    Keep up the great work with the blog and I’m sure you’ll hear my two cents from time to time! Take care!

    • Jeff, Thanks for reading! I love your comment. I do agree that tolerance is sometimes the only avenue. I think with the case of my neighbor though, I knew that it was possible for me to do better. I realize that this isn’t the case with all things. I think it was more about holding a grudge when I don’t have a need to. It just seemed a little counter productive. I enjoyed reading your two cents. Feel free to add it any time! Take care also:)

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