Last week our spiritual growth group was discussing the topic of tolerance and how much more difficult it is to have tolerance for family and for neighbors than for friends. We see family and neighbors all the time. We might be tempted to say “If only I could switch this family for a different one” but actually there’s no way to avoid conflict. Because of the ongoing contact the potential for friction is constant. It’s a function of the reality that every person is different. My needs are not going to line up with your needs. We’re meant to use this set-up of life to learn how to listen, how to express our needs and how to accept and love in spite of not always liking things other people are doing.

As we were discussing this I said, “For example, neighbors can sometimes call on the spur of the moment, and you have to drop everything to go and help. They need you right now, and you’re right there.”

As soon as the words came out of my mouth the phone rang. It was my neighbor. “Batya” she said. “Can you help me right now with something…?”

I stopped the group for a minute, got my daughter to help them and went back to the group. “You see?” I said. “Like that!”

Batya Yaniger

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