Many are guilty of thinking they are as solid as the rock of Gibraltar
Who has not heard of the commandment ‘Love your neighbour as yourself?’ that is also linked with all the world’s major religions in some way or the other. Yes, it is a wonderful enjoiner viewed even superficially from the outside.
Loving a ‘neighbour’
What does it mean to love? It means to serve, give others and feel happy over other people’s joy. When we act with love in our hearts, we can achieve closeness not only with those living next door but also with others around us at home, school and work place
Loving a ‘neighbour’ is loving, appreciating and also supporting any reciprocation from them. Such ‘neighbourliness’ is supposed to bring out the best in all of us.
It sounds perfect; but to ordinary human beings is there a more difficult chore than ‘loving your neighbours as yourself? Perhaps not; especially in the current turbulent goulashes of the world in which people splash about. The resounding ‘No!’ means it is too challenging and not practical.
Cedric came to this conclusion quite some time ago after weighing and putting to the test his own capacity to ‘love his neighbours as well as himself’. He looked around for people with whom he could identify himself. His search did not begin with people living close by but with classmates who were closer to him than any neighbour many people hardly knew and treated as just some people in the area. However, it did not take long for Cedric to find out that none of his classmates qualified to be loved as a neighbour as much as Cedric loved himself. He loved himself enough not to be tainted by cultivating ‘undesirable’ companionships in school. He found many repugnant because of their crude behaviour, competitiveness, manipulations and back stabbing and jealousy. Some cut classes, lied, and were hooked on drugs. They were losing their way in double quick time. ‘How in the world can I love them as myself?’ thought Cedric
Cedric was a diligent student; (he wanted to be a doctor) played tennis and football, read a lot, was good at thumping bongo drums, did not smoke cigarettes or ganja, drink on the sly or experiment with drugs at parties. He did not have a steady girlfriend either; just some female acquaintances he was happy to hold at arms’ length. All that made him a good boy in the eyes of his parents, others’ parents, teachers and relatives. Later as an adult working for a blue chip company he found a similar pattern among fellow workers. They were different in that they were more mature and subtle in their actions in comparison to the teething styles of schoolboys. Anyway the situation turned out to be the same among these working neighbours. There was no-one among them Cedric could have loved as himself. He had to learn to be tolerant though because he was part of a cohesive team; and the management was watchful.
People next door, wife and a live-in
People who lived close by were no different. They did not care whether Cedric was part of their small community. They never smiled or greeted him when they passed him on the road; they were noisy and nosey and some had the habit of parking their cars blocking his gate. Cedric knew they were envious of the new SUV he had bought recently. The new solar system he had installed in his house must have irked them no end as well. And he knew that the guy next door was an anti-government activist and that he organised strikes and rallies.
When will they ever learn?
The women in Cedric’s life belonged to the next category of people he saw as neighbours. And they were the ones who nailed tight his disability to love any neighbour as himself.
Cedric married a girl who was beautiful; everybody including his mother said so. Cedric loved her as much as he loved himself. He looked for fault in whatever she did and suspected her of sneakiness and insincerity and deceit. At times he thought her actions were blunt, malicious and designed to hurt him. After a couple of years, Cedric was certain she did not love him truly and never would. The negatives built up to a crescendo and that was when he decided he wanted out. The divorce that followed was a relief.
"Loving a ‘neighbour’ is loving, appreciating and also supporting any reciprocation from them. Such ‘neighbourliness’ is supposed to bring out the best in all of us."
When Cedric met his next heartbeat he decided not to marry her but to give the relationship a trial. And, hey! why not? He had paid dearly for his first marital mistake and had decided to move into a popular and common practice in modern, permissive and understanding society. They began to live together and Cedric began to love his live-in partner as himself.
He watched out for contradictions in what she said and what she did. He also looked for incompatibilities although the astrologer they had consulted said they were well-suited for each other. Cedric was also quick to point out her faults whenever he could find them. He also realised she was a compulsive flirt even when he was around. ‘Gosh, she doesn’t love me at all! I hope she regrets her decision to live with me and admit that our relationship is washed out,’ Cedric was vicious.
As time passed, Cedric increasingly began to dislike her and expected to be at the receiving end of her worst. No relationship could last in such an environment; they broke up before the end of the second
year of their relationship.
The blind rock of Gibraltar
In both instances, as a powerful example of a human being to be followed, Cedric remained as solid as the rock of Gibraltar. There was no question that he was better than and superior to anyone he considered a neighbour.
‘The divorce was not my fault. The break-up with my live-in partner was certainly not mine either. I am convinced of it.’
In everything else too, that was the extent of Cedric’s blindness to his own revolting and covert behaviour he had acquired at some time or other. The trouble was that it kept emerging as a devilish dwarf to push awry Cedric’s approach to a universal commandment; ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. It was that gnome that had made Cedric tell himself repeatedly, ‘Don’t worry, no mishap of any kind was due to my fault; you were solid.”
That was how blind Cedric was.
"In both instances, as a powerful example of a human being to be followed, Cedric remained as solid as the rock of Gibraltar. There was no question; he was better than and superior to anyone he considered a neighbour. ‘The divorce was not my fault. The break-up with my live-in partner was certainly not mine either. I am convinced of it.’"