As a military spouse, I have to learn to adjust to new environments and people. I've been doing petty good with this, but I've also been really excited to experience new places. I grew up as a military brat, so I knew before hand what I was signing up for when I said "I do."
We recently moved to Oklahoma and my husband and I were not stoked about it, but were glad to be closer to our family in Texas. The drive from Kentucky to Oklahoma was awesome! Antuan drove ahead of me in my car with the dogs. My son, my mom and I drove in the other car. I was prepared for the worst since we were traveling with an 18 month old, but the trip couldn't have gone better.
I was beginning to think maybe Oklahoma wouldn't be so bad. We'll enjoy it here. We'll be closer to family and the apartment we live in feels like a home. Then we met a couple in our neighborhood...
Don't you just love those people who feel the need to tell you all the bad things? Haha! Well, this couple that we met decided to do just that. Needless to say, their experience here in Oklahoma was not so great. They warned us about maintenance and the housing management, they complained about the people who lived in the apartment before us, they complained about life...
What a downer! What's even worse, is that I believed them. I let their words determine my feelings about this new community that I now lived in. The next day my family and I went to the housing office to request the house be sprayed by pest control. I wasn't as friendly as I usually am, because I went in with a preconceived notion that they would not get the job done or give me the run around. I was very stern and my husband even mentioned something to me about my attitude.
Afterwards, we went to the library. My family and I enjoyed going to the library at Fort Knox, so I wanted to see what the library was like here. Well, it's definitely not Fort Knox's Library! The staff aren't as friendly and the place just isn't as cozy.
When you move around, the tendency to compare the different places may occur. It's common to do so, but in my opinion very toxic. I think comparing makes you see the lesser in things and blocks your sight from the good.
We decided to go to a store to get a kiddy pool for our son. It was closed! Then I suggested we go to the thrift store. We just wanted to explore the post and tire our son out for his nap time. The thrift store was closed too!
We went to the commissary next. I was already in a crabby mood by this time and expected bad customer service. We didn't receive horrible customer service, but the people weren't friendly. A lot of the people that I've encountered on this post are not friendly.
I was really starting to dislike this place...
Then I thought about it and came to the conclusion that we are experiencing the learning stage. We are learning about our new community and that's why we are encountering this bad luck.
Then I heard a sermon on the radio about judging others and I wish I could tell you who it was by but I didn't catch the pastor's name. He mentioned how judging others is a sin that is overwhelmingly committed and accepted. We judge so many times that it has become normal and ok within our society.
Then he told a story about a man who for a few years had to take home a turkey that was given to him by his job in light of Thanksgiving. Everybody that worked with this man knew he was single and hated taking the turkey home, so one year, his co workers decided to wrap paper mache into the shape of a turkey for him. The man took what he believed to be a turkey with him and got on the bus home. He sparked conversation with a man who was desperately looking for a job and was overwhelmed with financial issues. The man on the bus was worried about providing a nice Thanksgiving meal for his family. The man with the turkey was so delighted to give the man on the bus his turkey, but knew the man would not just take the turkey because he is a proud man not looking for hand outs. So the man with the turkey asked the man on the bus how much money he had. The man on the bus said two dollars and some change. The man with the turkey said sold and sold the turkey to the man on the bus for all the money the man had on him...
Wow! You can just imagine the rest of the story... This man who thought he was doing something great ended up looking like a jerk and felt horrible when his co workers told him that the turkey was actually paper mache. Then you can just imagine how the co workers felt for judging the man they work with. They didn't think he would do such a thing.
This story made me reflect over my attitude towards my new community and how I've let my preconceived judgements dictate my behavior towards others.
My shallowness towards my community blocks me from giving and receiving the beauty and greatness from God. What if I wasn't receiving friendliness, because I wasn't friendly myself? What if I wasn't receiving friendliness because I was expecting the total opposite?
One thing that I've realized about myself is that I let others dictate my attitude. Meaning, if someone is rude to me, then I can sometimes be rude back. But does God really call us to be such or does he call us to love everyone, even our enemies? He says not to conform to the pattern of this world, which means only do as He says at all times. Show love to everyone no matter what.
Who knows? Maybe my love will inspire others in my community to show love and be friendly, as well... Isn't that my purpose?
We have to learn to go through life with an open heart filled with love in order to experience what God intends for us. Because we all know that God is love and he has called us to do just that.