Lent 2020, Day 36: Drown out the annoyance.

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22: 36-40

As I write this, our upstairs neighbors are making such a racket, it’s as if, in the words of K, “they’ve got on cement shoes and they’re stepping in the name of love.” Last week, I wrote about my experience of walking in the halls of our building during this time of social distancing, and how very alone it feels. Today, I’m going to flip that coin and talk about how crowded it can be when everyone has to be “Alone, Together.”

Zoe suggested we write this post together a couple of weeks ago. To be sure, the Uptowners, as we’ll call them here, have been way loud way before the shelter-at-home orders came down. Months ago, while having our Saturday Family Movie Saturday Nights, we began upping the volume to better make out Dumbledore’s words of wisdom to Harry. I had begun wondering if they had opened their own Independent Pentecostal church by my birthday in early February based on what I surmised had to be shouting and plenty of joyful noise making, emphasis on the noise.

But what had been relegated to some mornings/evenings/weekends is now a near constant. The two little boys must have aspirations to become sumo wrestlers or better, to join the WWE. The parents must be building something up there because we hear a loud sound like hammering and that has triggered pounding in my head. Speaking of sounds, I’m going to pass the laptop over to Z so she can share the next antidote:

Hi! So one day, I was just casually in my pajamas. Sounds normal, right? It was 8:30 am and I heard some arguing for at least 10 minutes, but after that I heard some romantic Spanish music for 15.

Alisha here. ROTFL!!! Okay, back to Z:

But on Sundays, it sounds like they actually are having church at 9. And after, in the early afternoon (usually around 2) I hear them play the same Spanish song for an hour. But then, around late afternoon/early evening they’ll activate.

You’re probably wondering what I mean by activate. What I mean is they’ll start pounding on the floor possibly dropping boulders and they’ll run around. Sometimes they will also walk around in the bathtub. But right now, they’re playing the drums on the floor while Kid 1 runs from the hallway to their bedroom. On Saturdays, we have Family Movie Night (mentioned previously). What will they do? They’ll stomp around and have a party with 2 other people, and a baby crying in the background. That baby is loud.

With Kid 2, they usually start a fight with Kid 3 because I’ll hear falling and screaming. But then, it sounds like they went roller skating. At home. But they’ll have times where they’ll be very loud. Like right now, for example. Since this happens pretty often, I call ’em earthquakes.

Alisha again. So now you know I’m not exaggerating here. The Uptowners have gotten on our already frayed nerves. BUT… sigh, there’s that Scripture up there. Even if after a stern warning by the Super, our neighbors still wanted to continue sounding like a herd of galloping Clydesdales, we have got to love ’em. Jesus made it clear that right after loving God with our entire beings, we MUST love our neighbors, and how it’s like the commandment to love God. Remember, we ALL are made in God’s image- even those of us who perform renditions of “Stomp!” in cement tap shoes.

Pray for us. It’s going to be a long quarantine.

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