Five Minute Friday: Burden


Gentle Reader,

Attended my first homeowner’s association meeting last night.

Handy that that experience lends to a lot of thoughts around this prompt.

Kate says: burden.


Chris usually goes to the meetings because, honestly, I just haven’t cared to. As long as my neighbors keep their yards clean and are generally quiet (meaning no blaring music at midnight), then it’s all good. Do your thing. But Chris couldn’t go, and we got a passive aggressive letter from the HOA board in the mail that annoyed me, so I forced myself to remain in real pants past 6:30 p.m., signed myself in and sat at a table in a crowded American Legion hall.

The first hour-ish was boring. A lot of complaining about sprinkler systems that none of us have control over. Because Idaho is all about de-regulation, the designers of the neighborhood apparently didn’t have to file irrigation plans with the city, and some of the irrigation boxes are actually on private property, so a good chunk of them can’t be located by the landscaping company, who have been fired because of expenses, etcetera, etcetera. Riveting.

Then came the discussion about the people who have failed to pay their homeowner’s dues. As the young kids say, it was lit.

I get it. There are always going to be those who feel they are above the rules. They should be held accountable. Of course. No problem.

But what about those who experience sudden job loss? Idaho is a “right to work” state, so anyone can be “let go” at any time, for almost any reason. What about those who are sick and struggling to pay medical bills? If it were me, and I had to pick whether to pay the hospital or the HOA, I’m paying the hospital. What about those who have to choose between setting aside money to pay a yearly fee and using that money to provide for their children? The kids win, hands down.

So, I asked the board what the communication process looks like. I believe that we all tend to assume that other’s life experiences are much the same as our own. We theoretically understand that the poor are always among us, but we don’t always move from the theory to the reality. Does the board reach out to the individuals? Do they take the time to listen to the stories? Could we set up a separate fund that homeowners can voluntarily contribute to throughout the year to help cover shortfalls? Maybe that fund could function as a scholarship that those who are struggling could apply for?

Did you know that if you ask those kinds of questions, you are a socialist?

Jesus makes it super clear that loving others often entails coming alongside them, helping them shoulder burdens when appropriate and, if necessary, teaching and empowering them to make better choices in the future. We do exactly nobody any good when we sit there in our smug superiority and shame them. As if we are immune to sudden devastation! Any one of us can lose everything at any time. Nobody is guaranteed a trouble-free life. Nobody is even guaranteed the next breath.

I am weary of living in a culture, both secular and church-ly, that grows angrier, blinder and harder by the day. God, open our eyes to our selfishness. 




5 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Burden

  1. I love your heart friend! What a great idea! If only others would understand that they could lose it all unexpectedly too. God calls us to love our neighbors. That’s what you were asking the association to do. Sometimes it’s that first step….who knows where your idea might lead.


  2. We’re reaping what we sowed, from an embrace of the moronic ‘zero-tolerance’ policies of the 80s and 90s. Kids are expelled for having nail clippers, for Pete’s sake.

    For me, I would never buy into a place where there’s an HOA. My neighbours can play their music as loud as they want, and work on their cars in the driveway.

    it’s a free country.


    1. As a PS, for what it may be worth, I believe that the whole zero-tolerance thing is what got us into this place, where it’s OK to hate anyone who disagrees with you, where politicians openly support and encourage those who would ‘make it impossible for a conservative to show his or her face in public ever again, where a disabled veteran running for office can be openly mocked for his injuries on SNL.

      With the best intentions we’ve built a culture of hate, and the only thing that will dial it back is, I fear, tragedy.


  3. I’m in total agreement with your theory about a fund for covering the shortfall in HOA dues, etc. I believe we need to reach out personally to others WE KNOW are struggling and attempt to relieve their struggles any way we can – that’s what Jesus did! The bible states we reap what we sow, so it is no surprise that we are living in a culture that seems to care mostly about self rather than others. I agree w/Cindy – I pray you have planted a seed of compassion that will grow! As for me, I am going to continue to serve the Lord with all my mind, heart, soul and strength!



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