Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Who Is My Neighbor..?

Wekiva Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 35th anniversary this coming Sunday.  One of our elders, Fred, went round to some of the neighboring businesses and churches that have changeable signs and asked if they might put up good wishes on this happy occasion.  Our next door neighbors, Watson Realty, did just that, today.  How very kind of them!  They have long been good neighbors to the church, and have for instance shared parking with us (some of their folks park in our lot during the week and some of our members park in their lot on Sunday mornings). 

I have a real fondness for Waston; since our own church and choir member Jane was among their agents.  When Jane learned that our Pittsburgh house was still on the market nearly two years after our move to Florida, she asked if she could help get it sold.  We were delighted; since things had more or less stalled in PA. Our dear friend Wilma, who had helped us find the house there, could not serve as our listing agent; since her husband was very ill. She had referred us to an agent who was used to selling million dollar homes, whose name was a combination of two animal names (along the lines of "Kitty Slug", but different), and who had frankly not the foggiest notion about selling a modest starter home.  And zero interest in our situation.  What a terrible disappointment, and do you know, she never ever said even one peep of apology for negelcting her duties?  (Nor has she to this day, I might add). 

So the house sat and sat.  Silent as an undiscovered tomb.

Some simple ideas to help market and sell the house that we had proposed at the first listing had been pooh-poohed, by Ms Slug, such as replacing the carpeting in the living and dining room with a neutral wall to wall Berber. Well, Jane heard our ideas, acted on them, in consultation with our new and different Pittsburgh real estate agent and the week after the new carpet went down we had two serious offers and sold the house.  Thank you, Jane!  Thank you, Watson!

We miss Jane, but she is happy over in Ormond Beach now, and we think of her often, including every time we look at the Watson building next door to the church. 

I think it is fair to say that if anyone stopped me on the street and asked who I would recommend along the real estate line, I would point them in Watson's direction without hesitation. As I say, they are good neighbors.

Jesus is the one who first talked about good neighbors in his parable which has come down to us as the parable of The Good Samaritan. You can find it in Luke 17. I have aways loved the line about "Who is my neighbor?" from his parable. The answer is simple: 

"The one who was kind to him." (verse 37)

I have come across and perhaps you have as well, those who are not so kind. Ergo, not your neighbor. At least, according to the parable Jesus told. My parents taught me to be kind and respectful and I strive to be exactly that. I am always surprised, shocked, dumbfounded, and amazed when people are NOT kind. It is so incompatible with the teaching of Jesus, that it just blows my mind as they used to say in days gone by.

I can recall when we mentioned Wilma, our dear Pittsburgh real estate agent friend, to another Pittsburgh real estate agent, that agent said to us, "Wilma is scrupulously honest".  It was a lovely compliment and it was entirely true.  But I must have been somewhat naive back then, because I assumed -- incorrectly as it turned out -- that real estate agents are all scrupulously honest. 

Later on, I learned otherwise.  And not just in the case of Ms Slug whose sins were of the omission type, as in omitting to show and sell our little house.  Mark my words, another real estate agent, of whom I had formed a very high opinion, let me and many others down tremendously with what I could call a sin of commission.   He used friendship and social connections to find out precisely what a house hunting couple were planning to offer for a home they dearly hoped to buy, and then advised his own clients to bid just slightly more.  His clients got the house.  When asked by the couple who thougtht they were among his friends why he had done that, his reply was: "That's business..."

Oh, really?  Mmm Hmm...

As I say, I am perhaps naive, even to this day.  But I think it is fair to say that if anyone stopped me on the street and asked who I would recommend along the real estate line...

You may complete the sentence, and I bet you'll get it right.

Thanks again to Jane and to Watson and to Wilma, for being good neighbors!

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