Saturday, November 14, 2009

Imagining Things

Sometimes I fret about things I have no business thinking about. Or do I? For example, I read in a newspaper that a request by the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity was denied because "neighbors expressed concern about safety and property value."

I wasn't at the hearing, so I don't know what was said, and the paper didn't elaborate. Let me speculate. The chairman of the zoning committee says, "Mr. Jones, you wanted to say something?" Jones responds, "Yes, thank you. I live in the neighborhood and am opposed to this request. We neighbors are concerned about safety and property values." The chairman asks, "What do you mean?" "If you approve this request, our property values will decrease," says Jones.

Then what? Did Jones present a poster or PowerPoint slides showing the effect of a Habitat home on property values? Did Habitat respond by pointing to the increase in the assessed value of a house it had built two doors down in 2005, or by displaying statistics on the property values in other neighborhoods with Habitat homes?

Or was Jones concerned about something else?

-- That single mothers set bad examples for neighborhood children?

-- That people who can't afford to buy homes on the regular real estate market might default, resulting in the home sitting vacant during foreclosure?

-- That singles who move into Habitat homes tend to allow significant others to stay over or move in, leading to poor family values?

-- That people of different color from that prevalent in the neighborhood are poor neighbors?

I understand. Some life coaches encourage folks not to fuss about scenarios their minds imagine. I am letting go....

...but I know that if Virginia were chairperson of the zoning committee, she would have asked Mr. Jones question after question until he said what he meant or asked to be excused.

1 comment:

  1. Now this is something we do have in common! I also spend time fretting about these very same things. At the facility where I work, we spend much time in educating new employees about seeing the light of God in everyone,yet often those who are in a position to lead by example are the very same people who end up looking down on others or casting judgement. In getting to know Virginia just a little bit, I'll bet she believes that the world be a better place if we all just gave peace a chance.