an unread letter to an unseen man

Dear neighbor:

I’ve come to think of you as my roommate (though officially I live alone). It’s because your TV volume is that loud, it’s as if we live in the same residence. It feeds directly from your room through your open door across a narrow passageway into my room. Even with my windows shut and thick drapes drawn, the sound is audible.

I know I’m not alone in the impact, that others in your building and mine can hear it. I don’t know whether you’re unaware or don’t care or something else; ultimately it doesn’t matter. The situation is what it is.

There are 100 possible reasons why you watch so much TV. I don’t know your reason(s) or why so deep into the night, 3 or 4 o’clock and beyond. I feel sad. I feel compassion for you. I truly do.

I also feel anger at the intrusion. I’m not saying anything, not bringing it to yours or anyone else’s attention. I wish to take a different tack and not start a war.

I’m very distressed and losing sleep. It’s true that I’ve had sleep disorders all my life (for private/unrevealed reasons). It’s true also that they’ve been acute and chronic since 2012, when I lost my father. I don’t know whether you’ve ever lost someone truly significant and loved and adored in so many ways.

It really doesn’t matter. It is a personal and private grief that only I can experience. Your understanding or not does not make it better or go away.

I really don’t have anything to ask of you. I’m not going to ask you to turn down or off your television or to wear headphones. I’m not going to ask you to be aware of your neighbors in such close proximity or to be considerate. To ask you to do or be these things is tantamount to asking you to be different or to change and that is not my business. You (universal you) must come to those on your own.

I guess were I to convey anything to you, man I’ve never met face to face but whose presence through a loud TV on near constantly and through the night is pervasive in my apartment, it’d be: I’m in grief. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep or quiet night (without the help of drugs) since 2012.

There’s also years of bad beds not my own and one year of enormous debilitating neck, shoulder and back pain that resulted from them. They’ve both tremendously downgraded my sleep and dreamtime and lack thereof — and to a point where I honestly cannot remember the last time I had good solid restorative sleep in these past years. My body is finally getting the therapy so seriously needed. That has not repaired the problems; rather, it is a long and gradual process of recovery.

So, neighbor who is my roommate, the loud TV through the night that is your comfort is a source of distress, and lost sleep, for me and I reckon others around. I’m doing my best to try to live with it, I truly am.

Yesterday, I had my breakdown. I hit bottom. I recognized that I can go no further in this profound state of beyond-exhaustion, weariness and agitation. I’m turning to the only peaceful solution that’s available, short of a total knockout by drugs: prayer. A prayer to find peace, inner peace so that your very loud TV that blares through the night will not cause me to further lose the footing that I’ve worked so so so hard and am working hard to establish at this time in my life in this town.

My life present and future depends on me learning a peace that surpasseth all understanding (to quote the Bible, I’m not a Bible person).

Being that there’s nothing I want of or from you, I can say only thank you. Thank you for being part of a lesson and teaching (hard ones, each) about finding inner peace. About learning how to be still in the turmoil and noise of others and the world.

And, particularly, the continuing lesson about the power of prayer. I cannot do this, face this, get through this on my own. I need spiritual support and guidance. I need a power greater than I alone have to get to a place where intrusions and intrusiveness, of which the blaring TV is a part, are no longer an active and debilitating part of my life.

I don’t know how I’m going to get there, only that I need help and support from Spirit to lead the way and help me get there.

So thank you Mr. Loud TV Man for your part in my (painful & challenging) growth. I can do this with help from above. With help from above, I will find the way to sleep through your noise and to find peace amid the chaos and human wars upon planet Earth.