OUR NEIGHBOR WAS YELLING OBSCENITIES as he roared his pickup truck back and forth across our half of the strip of land that separated his driveway from ours. My husband and I had not realized how strongly he felt about the ground cover we had planted on our half. Although both parties had been working toward reaching an agreement, now it had all come to a head. War was being declared in suburbia USA.
After the incident, our neighbor blasted off to work. Fortunately, my husband and I had all day to think about what to do next. In the face of property damage, verbal slandering, and public accusations heard by all the neighbors, we were tempted to react emotionally. However, we have always been committed to peacemaking in one form or another.
We decided that peacemaking in this situation could start with compassion for our neighbors. We knew they were under a lot of strain. Both husband and wife worked, as did all three of their teenagers. There was continual coming and going at all hours of the day and night. Although we did not necessarily think we'd done anything wrong, my husband decided to write an apology for the misunderstanding. Not only did he take the blame, he expressed a willingness to work out a solution that would be satisfactory to both parties.