Friday, 30 October 2015
The Commandment about my neighbour's wife
"Do not desire your neighbour's house, do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns."
Hmmm ... my neighbour has no slaves, cattle, donkeys or anything else I would desire. But his wife !!!
His wife ... there's absolutely no chance on earth that I would desire or covet his wife.
She frightens me. She is a very thin and tall woman always dressed in black. A long flowing dress that comes down to her feet. She has long black hair all the way down her back ... none on her head; just down her back. She has a long semi-crooked nose a bit like a parrot's beak.
I sometimes hear her cackle rather than laugh in her garden. She's out there trying to sunbathe but to no avail whatsoever. As soon as she lies fully clothed on a couple of wooden planks the sun quickly hides behind the clouds in fear.
Even nature itself is frightened of her. This year the birds have returned all the seeds they took from her garden last year.
If I ever see her in the street I quickly run in before she notices me. I'd hate to ever meet her in a dark alley at night. When my cat sees her he comes running in too and climbs up the curtains; counting carefully his nine lives. Even the dog jumps on top of the fridge in fear. Have you ever had a bulldog on a fridge?
Lately, she accused me of sending frogs in her garden. I did not understand what she meant. She claims that frogs come out of our pond and go through the hedge between us into her garden.
She is often in her garden collecting frogs from the ground and throwing them high over the fence into our garden. I throw them back with my tennis racket as they fly through the air. Every so often I hit them hard and they don't land in her garden but in the garden beyond that. She cakles madly and says "15-love!"
The other day she rang me at 3.00 in the morning and complained that our horse was in her garden. I mumbled some apologies and went back to sleep.
It wasn't until the morning when I realised that we do not have a horse.
So I plucked up all my courage, or made to pluck up all my courage by the family, to be precise, and I went next door to put her right. She cackled and said that she must have dreamt the whole thing about the horse. Now why did I not dream that we don't have a horse and all would have been well.
Her house has the garage at the front of the house visible from the street. I saw her a few days ago with the garage doors open. It was full of boxes, plastic bags, broomsticks, and containers of all sorts and so on. Basically, the garage was full to the roof with so much stuff she could hardly close the door. I volunteered to help her. I said: "You're looking for something. Can I help?"
She cackled as she usually does and said "I'm looking for my husband. I left him here three weeks ago!"
Come to think of it, I had not seen her husband for a while. He is a small short man who doesn't say much except "Yes dear ... OK dear ... Whatever you say dear" and such like. (A bit like me really!)
He used to be a safety officer in a coal mine. They used to tie a rope round his waist and send him down the mine. If he did not faint it was safe to go down and work. Otherwise they'd pull him up, revive him, and send him down again a few minutes later to check again.
Their house is a permanent Halloween with real cobwebs and spiders welcoming you in as soon as you ring the door bell. I'm sure at night I've seen bats flying round their chimney.
All this I have told you leads me to one question which has always crossed my mind: The Commandment clearly says you must not covet your neighbour's wife - and it is a sin to do so. Even if you covet her in your mind and not in reality like!
My question: Is it also a sin if, as in my case, you un-covet, or not covet at all, your neighbour's wife? Am I good because I obey the Commandment, or bad because I take its opposite to extremes?