What is the skillful means?
On Wednesday night I was awakened by the police taking a billy club to my front door at 2 a.m. I was terrified! I had been in bed asleep for 3 hours. I did not know that it was the police. Why would they be at my door? There currently is a rapist in my neighborhood who has not been caught. So I locked my bedroom door and called 911 for help. Well to make a long story short, my neighbor Michelle had taken a cab ride home and had given my unit # as her address because she was broke and could not pay the driver. I live in a 4 plex. Well the cabby called the police when she said she was going in (to my unit) to get cash and she did not come back out. She used some large scrubs to hide behind and went around the building to her own door and let herself in. The police overreacted (probably a racist thing) and practically broke down my front door leaving a lot of visible damage from using their billy clubs on my door. The way they acted you would have thought they were after a murderer! Evidently either they never found my neighbor or what she had done did not warrant an arrest, because yesterday I saw her out by the dumpster.
Now I am feeling very torn about how to act or what to do or how to treat my neighbor. What a dilemma. I saw her yesterday walking outside. I had hoped that she had been arrested the other night when the police tried to bash down my front door. Or that she had taken the children to a battered woman's shelter. I did go to the Victim Advocate at the police department to make a complaint about how I was treated and they told me that I can not ask the government to pay for the door. So I guess I will have to hold the owner / landlord responsible to fix my front door. I also went to social services and asked them to make a welfare check.
My neighbor John told me that Michelle's utilities have been turned off and I believe it because there are no lights on over there at night. It takes many months of non-payment before they will shut off your utilities. Now Michelle and her 3 kids are living in the dark house. About 10 days ago she came over and asked for money to buy milk for she children because "her husband had spent all their money on drugs."
Now she sits in the garage where there is a bare light bulb and smokes. The utilities to the garage are shared so have not been turned off.
This morning early I could hear the children playing in the garage by my back door and by my car. I don't know if I told you that the kids jumped on someone's car hood (visiting another neighbor and caused several hundred dollars damage). We share a 4 car garage.
I feel so torn about what to do. Today we are expecting the first snow fall of the year in Denver. I do not feel it is safe for her and the kids to live in the garage or in a house with no utilities!! But I also feel compassion for her. What would I do with no money and three children? She has a restraining order against her husband. This could have safety implications for her and her kids and also for any neighbors living in this attached building.
What is the right thing for me to do from a Bhuddist perspective? Do I call for a welfare check again? Do I do Chamma practice? Or Yeshe Walmo for protection? This poor woman is about to loose her children and perhaps even her life. It is a major crisis. She or her husband could injure the children. At the same time I feel so sorry for her.
I am dumbfounded. I am now over my anger, but do not wish to experience any more fallout from her desperate situation. She will not likely open her front door if the police come out for the welfare check. Do I open the garage door and expose her? I do not want an enemy because she could retaliate. Also it is just so deeply sad for the whole family!
I am praying that something horrible does not happen. Yet I want to end the stress of living next door to these neighbors. I did write a letter to the landlord asking that they be evicted and now I feel guilty about doing that. I was angry because she has victimized me.
Poor people just do not have the option of living peaceful, optimistic lives.
Please pray for Michelle and her three children all under 4 years old.
Also I ask for clarity and any suggestions about how to deal with this pitiful family.
Living with skillful means is a tough goal in this situation. Any ideas?
On another topic, I am reading Jane Fonda book My Life So Far. What a facinating book! It gives the story of Vietnam from her own personal experience of it. What an eye opener. I was a war protestor during my college years and I also appose the current war. How do we effectively and peacefully get out troups back home? I highly recommend Jane's book to everyone. I was terribly disappointed about the news coverage of the Peace Rally in Washington DC. The media only covered the huricane and absolutely minimized the Peace Rally. How do we use
skillful means to effect a government which seems out of our control.
I would also like to ask for prayers for the people of Afganistan and India who have been impacted by the earthquake there. Things in Nepal seem to be declining.
I am feeling rather hopeless and helpless today. It is very hard not be be depressed by the whole world situation these days. The Four Nobel Truths seem so profoundly true. I wish I knew how to let all the suffering just roll off my back. I know meditation for enlightenment is the way out, but is there something concrete I can do to make an impact?
Peace, Peace, Peace,