the time we take up this part of the narrative, I have been through a women's shelter and
now consider myself officially separated from my husband. Prior to that I was living
separately for reasons of illness, for about two years.
I was renting a
townhouse and having quite a lot of trouble with my neighbours. When I first moved in it
seemed a nice quiet place to bring up two young children. I soon discovered that the only
reason it was quiet was because my neighbours were away on holidays. I'll never forget the
night they returned. I was lying in bed when I heard someone talking as if they were in
the next room. The reason for that was that they were in the next room - next
door! Through the brick wall I could hear every word she was saying on the telephone
- I got a blow by blow description of her holiday!
It soon became
evident that our hours were not compatible. They were students who liked to sleep in
after working in a bar late at night and into the early hours of the morning. They
liked to entertain drunken foul-mouthed young men until sometimes six o'clock in the
morning, then sleep in. I had children who woke up at seven. You can see how
this wasn't very conducive of friendly relations between neighbours.
One night I was
putting Bianca-Rose to bed and she was playing up badly. I had to let her cry a bit
to help her see who was boss - she was not getting out of her cot again and that was
that. She was not happy but I wanted to persist. But then the knocking on the
wall began. The neighbours were trying to study.
The next day the
girls woke up early as usual and were making normal happy children's noises. We
spent a lot of time at home because I was still recovering from the trauma that had
resulted in us living in a women's shelter for four months. The day ahead looked
long and difficult as I contemplated emotional tension arising from conflict with my
neighbours. I would have loved to pack a lunch and get out of the house but I just
didn't have the energy.
After lunch I was
lying on my bed, feeling a bit depressed and asking God the usual questions. "How can
I go on, Lord?" Stuff like that...
I can't remember
exactly how it happened that I was reading Psalm 18, but just as I got to verse 18, which
says, "They confronted me in the day of my disaster...", there was a knock at
knew it was my neighbours coming to 'confront' me, so the verse seemed uncannily
appropriate. The next words in the verse are, "but the Lord was my
support", and I knew that the same Lord who was being spoken of in the Psalm would
strengthen me to face my neighbours.
I was pathetic
really. They had no right to confront me at all - their behaviour was antisocial, not
ours. Regular, drunken parties to all hours of the morning in closely packed units is not
friendly. Still, I apologised and smiled and let them get away with it. That's what
happens when you're too tired to stick up for yourself. But the Lord was my
I went back to my
bed and my Bible and continued to read. The next verse of Psalm 18, verse 19, reads,
"He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because he delighted in
me." Don't ask me how I knew, but I just knew God was saying He had a house
picked out for me to live in and it wouldn't be long.
What I didn't know
yet was that verses 16 and 17 were also to be part of this strange event - but I was soon
to find out.