My Childhood Neighbor…
She was such a force to be reckoned with. Not sure if it was her character, her grace or quite simply; her Simplicity! Growing up in a remote suburban area of New Orleans, I would gripe constantly about long rides to the city for events in my life. As an adult it is also probably why I Love living in more metropolitan areas overall. I Love being close to the arts, music, urban culture and technology. The simple things are just that to me.. Simple!
As I matured, I learned to appreciate the importance of those “simple things” when I think of the word Love! In my thirties, I had a deep lesson and reflection with a church leader on the difference of Eros and Agape Love. Their differences and how they affect the overall lifestyle and mood of people. The Religious aspects were put aside so I could fully understand the Spirituality of the word “LOVE“! Due to my thorough education in the word on a mental, physical and spiritual level; I spend my Valentine’s Day Loving my neighbors as I Love myself.. the Agape (Love) Way! Being single on this Valentine’s Day, the Eros (Love) is not as important on this day to me as it is to couples. But, we can all share Love on this day (Eros or Agape) if we share it with our significant other or our neighbor!
Let me get to my childhood neighbor. Ms. Escamila, better known to the kids in our area as “The Chicken Lady”, was a model citizen and a pillar to our society. She lived on the street behind my home. Her street, home, appearance and quiet nature was the exact opposite of mine. To look at it overall; she wore simple (sometimes ragged) garments with a barn red house and livestock roaming the yard with a very narrow gravelled road. We on the other hand, had a large property with a brick home, estate gates, fancy cars, the best clothes money can buy (or have custom-made) and the family poodle.
She was well spoken and lived on her own. Being well poised was a huge part of her Pride. She was ALWAYS Happy! Smiles! A Kind word! She had a way to look up when things weren’t so. No one is perfect but, her philosophy led to a “no one has to know” persona that worked WELL for her.
I had it all…. or so I thought! My Family, Many Friends, trophies, social clubs and the many “accolades” CONSTANTLY bestowed upon me! When things did not go My Way; Hell hath No Fury!
Two total OPPOSITES!!
Yet, we met in the middle! We Connected! Our relationship was Solid! Our Commitment.. FIRM!! To this day I am not sure what made us take to each other. I would imagine that God had placed us on each other’s paths. She needed me?! I needed Her?! We both learned and loved! I consider her my First “Agape” Valentine’s Day Love!
Unlike the many “Eros” Valentine Male suitors of my past, (only one of them an actual Agape Love Also) the serious and fulfilling nature of that Agape Valentine relationship with my neighbor will last a Lifetime!
The specialties we shared were the walks, talks, life exposures and lessons. If I would act too boastful, she calmed and nourished me with advice and led me to a more subtle way of expression. We exchanged gifts on many different levels. I would ask: “Can I bring you a new outfit or some of a great catered or cooked meal?” She would say: “Here are some eggs from the chickens! Would you like to pet the goat?” The etiquette of afternoon tea was first shared with her which also included setting a table. She would inform me that unkind words hurt more to most people than a stab in the back; as the wound would heal and memories hurtful words often lasted into “Eternity“! Amazing was the things I was exposed to during those formative years and all thanks to a little old lady just around the corner.
We had different backgrounds in culture, race, class and age. The Love we shared through time, gifts, knowledge and so forth would be an invaluable tool in my future. It helped me to deal with failures, loneliness and the absence of the Eros in my life. This includes the loss of my only Eros and Agape Love after his death while we served in the Marines overseas.
At times when my personal emotions are bursting at the seams, the ever-present teachings of a “Gentler Pass” help me to choose my responses to the situation more wisely! The overall effect has given me the thicker skin and healthier spiritual, mental and physical style that “Life Demands”.
This Lady truly helped me to LOVE MYSELF!
I am ever so glad that both my mom and dad allowed me to connect with her. Some how; they must have known! If not, they will NOW! I write this today and give a salute to both of them!! They will know on this Valentine’s Day that because of her… their daughter Fully Appreciate The Most Beautiful Things In Life such as….
Loving Them AND Thy Neighbor!!
Happy Valentine’s Day Neighbors!!!!
“Inspired by Bible Verse Matthew 22:39”