Living with anyone can be a challenge. Many seniors have experienced this truth in numerous ways throughout the years. From college roommates to adult friendships or relationships to having and growing a family, when you bring people into the inner sanctum of your life, things can sometimes get messy.
In an assisted living community such as Bethesda Gardens in Terre Haute, residents are able to return to their own individual space every day. That's a great benefit of an assisted living apartment, because privacy and independence can be as important to older adults as socialization and support. But having your own apartment doesn't mean you don't live in a community with many other residents. And that comes with the same challenges that living among others always does.
When you live in close proximity to others, you will hear them. That might mean hearing someone making a bit of noise in the assisted living hallways as you're trying to rest or relax. Or it might mean hearing someone in the common area and feeling they are a bit too loud.
Living in a community of other people might necessitate sharing or compromising, especially when it comes to planned activities or use of common spaces.
You won't always get along with everyone around you, and there are times when frictions between yourself and others might cause some stress.
One of the best ways to deal with many of the challenges inherent in living around other people is to show consideration and kindness. It can be easy to fall into blame games, especially when someone else doesn't seem to be putting in any effort to be a good neighbor. During those times, consider some of these lessons from the Bible about being kind.
Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
No one is perfect. Chances are that you, too, have done something that bothered another person. Keeping that in mind can help us to forgive others, especially for small and petty things that shouldn't be remembered past the moment or hour. In those cases, simply forgiving and forgetting in your own mind lets you move on with a more productive day.
In cases where the action was bigger than that or caused a rift in a relationship, you may need to do more than forgive in your own mind. You may need to talk it out with the other person and let them know that you forgive them. Remember to keep kindness at the forefront of your mind when having such conversations.
Proverbs 11:17 reminds us that, "A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself."
Kindness isn't just something you do for others. Yes, you may sacrifice some of your convenience (or even your annoyance) to be kind to others. But you reap a reward too, because being unkind and engaging in negative thought and behavior can actually have an impact on your mental and physical health. People who choose to be kind tend to be overall happier.
The well-loved 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians says, in verse 4-7, that "love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
1 Corinthians heaps a lot of burdens on love, but it does so because love is able to stand up to them. Loving people as Christ loved them helps you show this type of kindness to others, especially at times when you might be less than pleased with them. Remembering that every person is also a child of God is a great way to put things in perspective when you're trying to maintain kindness.
Luke 6:35 says, "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil."
When everything else fails, ask yourself: What would Jesus do? It's not just a phrase meant for youth bracelets; it's a fundamental question for every Christian. Jesus might be firm and honest, but he was also kind. And when you strive to live like him, you save up reward for yourself in Heaven.
Remember that kindness doesn't require that you let people walk all over you or behave in an inappropriate manner. There's a difference between condoning bad behavior and overlooking that someone had a bad day and might be grumpier than normal. If you are dealing with an issue that is outside of something that should be treated with kindness, reach out to the Bethesda Gardens staff for assistance.