Friday, July 25, 2008

Neighbors In Need

A few days ago as my wife was taking a stroll around the block with our daughter, she saw several police cars parked at or near one of the homes in our neighborhood. She could not tell what was going on. There was no ambulance or fire agency vehicle there.

Not knowing what else to do, my wife continued on her way. Another police car rounded the corner. The driver appeared to be searching for an address, so my wife pointed the way, and that vehicle soon joined the others. Sometime later we noted that the cars were no longer there.

Unlike most of the families in our neighborhood, we do not know this family well. They moved in last year and have been rather reclusive. They have only one child at home — a foster child whom they have been trying to adopt. This child has emotional issues that require medication and other interventions. It is admirable that these people have undertaken such a heavy responsibility.

A neighbor that has a closer relationship with this family later explained that “someone pulled a knife on somebody and someone got hit with a frying pan.” This was not unlike other instances to which police have responded. That’s all I know about it.

The family’s reclusiveness is perhaps understandable. You feel that the neighborhood has no business sticking their noses into your family’s issues. It’s embarrassing, and you likely know from past experience that well meaning people can sometimes inadvertently cause more pain.

Neighbors’ unwillingness to intrude is also understandable. They do not understand the intricacies of the issues and dynamics involved. And, quite frankly, many of them are somewhat scared of the unfamiliar, the unknown, and the violence. Who wants their calm status quo upset?

It does seem a little disappointing that offers that would promote more community involvement have been rebuffed. It seems that such involvement would allow the burden to be spread so that it wouldn’t have to be borne alone. From the family’s perspective, however, such offers probably seem like the imposition of more burdens when their plate is already full to overflowing.

I wish this family all the best. I know they have a difficult task. I hope that I can be open to ways that I could be of assistance without being too intrusive.

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