My grousing, groaning and griping about our HOA has taken a new twist.
Our certified letter, an official threat of purported fines if we didn’t comply with their standards of mold free driveways and homes, appears to have been a bit overzealous in its presentation.
Seems we were a glitch.
John had been trying to get a hold of our HOA representative since we’d come back from Colorado. He wanted clarity on the certified letter, which stated they’d fine us–or worse–if we didn’t clean up the mold that had grown over the summer. (I’m thinking “worse” would have been covering us with mold and holding us up for public ridicule. Like the stocks. Only mold-encrusted.)
Trying to be good homeowners, we dutifully cleaned our drive and home.
After the weekend, John finally connected by email with our HOA person.
Who apologized profusely. The letter was a mistake. A certifiable mistake.
It was an error.
The person John connected with was quite apologetic. Quite nice, as a matter of fact.
Much nicer than the letter had led us to believe they’d be.
When John told me how sorry the person was for the confusion, I was not in a forgiving mood. I’d felt humiliated by that letter. The job of the HOA wasn’t to shame us. It was to keep up the appearance of the neighborhood.
But that letter felt shaming. We hadn’t kept up with the mold removal because we didn’t have time.
Didn’t make time.
And that brought up the lie I play in my mind again and again.
“You never get it right, Dayle.”
Shame happens when we’re found out. When we’ve done something wrong and it gets exposed. Or when we think we’ve done something wrong. It’s a negative feeling, full of a sense of unworthiness. I felt shame over that letter. Because it made us look bad.
Well, our house made us look bad.
Silly of me? Yes. But shame happens at the strangest times and for the smallest reasons.
Shame doesn’t ever come from God. He brings conviction to my heart–that inner sadness that moves me to change what I’m doing because I know I’m wrong.
Shame comes from that other dude.
Jesus took all my shame on Him when He died on the cross in my place. Shame is the lie that causes me to focus on my unworthiness and not God’s grace and total forgiveness.
It would be great if I could take these lessons in stride. Not feel that disappointment in myself that I’ve failed again. That I’ve let someone else down.
The HOA poked at my own insecurities and inadequacies. They weren’t the bad guys. They just felt like it.
Recognizing I’m forgiven and loved can go a long way to releasing that sense of shame.
It may not go far enough, though, to allow me to let go of my dislike for the HOA hovercraft.
Top photo courtesy of ccfj.net.