Yurts — photo taken with his permission
ONE relationship I’ve had over the past three years that has significantly tested my trust, I am thankful to say, is one God has surprisingly nurtured.
The relationship is with a neighbour: a man named Yurts.
Why has this relationship been a test of trust, you might be thinking? Well, Yurts is an eccentric fellow with a passion for wandering barefoot on the hottest days ridding the neighbourhood of ants — yes, ants. When I first saw him operating when we moved into the area I thought he was plain weird. Many neighbours felt the same way; some do to this day. I have to say, as well, this neighbourhood is unusual in that the park that fronts the home we have just vacated draws about three blocks worth of families — a hundred or more use it regularly. Never have we lived in such a connected neighbourhood. It is alive with connection — many people seem to know many people. It has been the ideal place to bring up our son from under two years to now, nearly five years of age.
Back to Yurts.
Beyond his eccentricity, Yurts is one of the friendliest and most knowledgeable people you’d ever meet. But on first glance, he doesn’t appear friendly or knowledgeable. He had worked for many years for a utility provider, and, of all places, in Antarctica for a length of time. Perhaps it’s the richness in his life experience that impels his eccentricity. Time and again he has proven to be generous of spirit and patient.
Whatever it is, I would not have learned the value in God’s test of trust had I not been exposed to this situation. I claim no credit. Over three years, God has shown me both my propensity to shrink back, and His capacity to draw me forward.
God has a test of trust for every one of us; in truth, there are several at every given time of our lives. The relationship with Yurts was clearly one where God constantly invited me to step out toward him, even when many times I would have preferred to avoid him. God wasn’t just inviting me to be nice, but he was inviting me to be truly open of heart, to listen, and to dignify the man — especially when I was fearful of his eccentric nature.
One thing God shows us about our relationships with people is our bias for self-protection when it comes to those who are very different to ourselves. God reveals to us our fear. This comes out as skewed perceptions of pre-judgment (the word that means prejudice). Whenever we are negative about any person, God is inviting us to check ourselves for prejudice.
God invites us to step out of our comfort zones to embrace those we would avoid.
God invites us to go beyond our first glance perceptions to plumb the truth about others who seem threatening. Very often, though not always, our perceptions are righted when we approach them in a friendly and warm manner.
God has so much to teach us as we approach those we would prefer to avoid.
God also teaches us a great deal when we step into our discomfort zone.
Yurts has given his blessing to words of gratitude, which I have endeavoured to portray here. I have changed Yurts’ name for his privacy.
The only caveat I make to this article is when we have very good reason to need to protect our family’s safety.