Answered Prayer

Are you ever surprised when God actually answers your prayers? If we have faith enough to pray about something in the first place, it should come as no surprise when the prayer is answered. I confess, though, that I have been guilty of that lately. Let me tell you about the latest incident.

We have a neighbor from Hell, whom I haven’t mentioned here before. His name is Walt, but we refer to him as “the creepy old man next-door”, making him sound sort of like a character from Friends or Seinfeld. In the building where we live, there are 4 apartments all in a row. We live in apartment #2, and when we moved in here, the creepy old man lived in apartment #4. The other two apartments were empty. He would always watch us in a creepy manner (hence the word “creepy” in our name for him), and he would curse at us for no reason and cause as much trouble for us as possible. For instance, he called the police to inform them that I was still driving with Tennessee driver’s license and tags even though we now live in Virginia. (I actually had already changed them to VA, but I hadn’t switched the tags on my car yet.) I also think he purposely punctured one of my tires. It was mysteriously deflated one morning, and the tech at the tire shop said there were 3 nails in it, and they looked suspicious, as though someone had driven them in.

A couple years ago, the creepy old man moved away, and Sam and I were overjoyed. Then, toward the end of last year, he moved back, after being kicked out of the place where he had moved when he left here. By this time, apartments #3 and #4 were occupied, so he ended up right beside us in #1. Sam and I were filled with dread as we saw him moving in, but we were determined to be good neighbors despite our past experience with the man.

Unfortunately, the old man has been worse than ever since he moved back, making our lives miserable. He has yelled at us, cursed at us, said filthy things to and about us, tried to intimidate us by standing in his doorway or stepping out on the porch and watching our every move whenever we go outside. On February 1, he was yelling at us through the adjoining wall, shouting threats and obscenities so bad that I called 911. That was the first (and hopefully, the last) time I’ve ever called the cops on anyone. I also called the landlord. After being talked to by both the cops and the landlord, he quit saying stuff to us, but he would still occasionally watch us in a threatening manner or play his radio very loudly to annoy us. (That is especially funny because Sam and I both like the music he plays, so it totally defeats the purpose.)

The situation has been so bad that I have felt frightened in my own home and desperate find another place to live. So, I’ve prayed…a lot. My primary prayer has been for us to be able to move. Instead, God has answered by changing the old man.

Last month, he was gone for about a week, and we wondered if maybe he was in the hospital. I think he probably was, although I have no confirmation of that. This afternoon, as I was going out to my car, he stopped me and said, “Ma’am, I want to apologize for the way I’ve acted toward you and talked to you and about you. I know I said some really bad things to you and about you, and I am genuinely sorry from the bottom of my heart, and I hope you will forgive me.” I thanked him and said I was sorry for not always responding in a totally Christian-like manner. He went on to say, “I’m an old man, and I’m not well. I have a bad liver and a bad heart, and I have diabetes. I keep drinking liquor even though I know I shouldn’t, and I probably won’t live much longer. I want to be a better person and a better neighbor.”

To say I shocked by his speech would be an understatement. I prayed for God to make the situation better, but I am still surprised that He did. I believe the old man was sincere. As I was driving away, it appeared that he wiped a tear from his eye. Well, maybe that’s going a bit far. It was probably just allergies. Anyway, I have high hopes that he will keep his word and be a more decent neighbor from now on.


3 responses to this post.

  1. […] of whom… You may recall the article I wrote about him some time back. He used to be mean and spiteful, but he suddenly changed, […]


  2. […] attitude toward someone who used to be very hurtful toward us. I have written here before about our neighbor who used to be mean and spiteful but has done a complete about-face and is now nice and neighborly. […]


  3. […] written a couple times about my neighbor who used to be mean but is now nice. (Here and here.) He’s basically just an old, drunk redneck, and conversations with him can be […]


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