“We have become those people.”
This is what I said to my wife at 12:45am this morning after being woken up by our neighbors downstairs playing music. She stood there in her PJ’s, asking me if I wanted her not to go say something. I debated. I actually debated about letting her kindly ask them to turn down the music that they were blaring on a Saturday night in their apartment. But I told her to go. I was not about to be a sleep-deprived youth worker on a Sunday morning without earning that deprivation through a lock-in or some other youth-related activity.
As soon as she opened the door, one of the two lovely college students that lives below us said, “it’s too loud isn’t it?” before my wife could even muster a word. “Yes. We have work tomorrow.” And without an issue, they turned down their music and we went back to sleep. But only after we were those people.
Let’s clarify, our downstairs neighbors are 2 college ladies, very sweet, art students, your typical nice young ladies. They are not a problem. They responded gracefully, as you would hope any neighbor would. They are literally the best neighbors you could imagine having.
But we are those people. The people who want quiet when we sleep, who mind when our neighbors play music too loud, the ones who expect order and decency in our lives as much as we can have it. Not everyone can have it, most can’t. But when it comes to my sleep, I’m no good without it. So, I am now one of those people.
I am a person with expectations. Expectations of privacy, expectations of safety, sleep, happiness, of living in a place that I pick, of having transportation, etc. We all have expectations. The problem happens when our expectations change directions. And I don’t mean for the better. The problems arise when our expectations are that civilians (I’m talking about people of color here) are meant to keep calm when a gun is pointed at their heads by someone in power who is meant to protect.
Our expectations are problematic when police are forced to keep codes of silence.
Our expectations become perverted when we expect that the system that has supported white supremacy is going to suddenly help those which it has oppressed without making any changes to said system.
Our expectations are off when it becomes acceptable to shame a woman running for president because her husband cheated on her and allow a man who is repeatedly known for cheating on his wives and belittling women, children, differently-abled, military veterans, people of color, immigrants, and more, to be allowed to run for president of a major political party and be considered fit to be given nuclear codes.
Friends, we are not living up to the expectations that God set out for us:
So now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? Only to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all God’s ways, to love God, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD your God and God’s decrees… (Deut. 10:12-13)
We need a reset on our expectations.