Loving your neighbor can be difficult when you're talking about the ones who annoy you, the ones who frighten you, the ones who don't love you. But sometimes, you get lucky, and it's really easy, and at those times, you really ought to stop and just be grateful.
I started thinking along these lines for a couple of reasons: 1) When I go running, I almost always just run around my own neighborhood, and 2) I'm a pretty quiet and reserved person until I get to know you.
So, I started thinking about these two things because they are related. I stay in my neighborhood when I run for practical and personal reasons:
1. It keeps me close to home: This is important to me because sometimes my husband is not at home, and I can leave my teenager in charge while I get my miles in, knowing that if the kiddos need me, I can be home in just a couple of minutes. Also, those same kiddos, while lovely, did a number on my bladder (future blog: there is nothing natural about child birth), so I like knowing I'm close to home if the ol' bladder can't make it through the entire run I've planned!
2. It's familiar: I am not now nor have I ever been an adventurous person. I'm good with running the same path most of the time. And I like that I know exactly what constitutes one mile, two miles, three miles, etc., in my neighborhood.
3. It's comforting: Continuing with my introvert tendencies...I like seeing the same houses, the same dogs, the same people, smelling the same yummy smells from those grilling their dinners. This does not bore me, it comforts me and reminds me that I am home.
4. My neighbors rock: The longer I keep getting out there, the more supportive my neighbors become. I can't tell you the number of friendly smiles, waves, thumbs up, and atta girls I receive from my wonderful neighbors every day, and it never fails to make my day. I pretend I have my own personal cheerleaders, and I guess in a way, I actually do!
5. Even the dogs have mostly gotten used to me by now: I'm a cat person, and while I appreciate all animals, I'm very respectful of dogs and their space. I've had a few scares here and there, but I've learned a lot about my canine friends. When you see them, give them a wide berth, and consider slowing down or walking when you pass them. Again, my neighbors are equally respectful and always keep their pooches in check. And now, my doggy neighbors all pretty much know me and realize I'm no threat to them. So I still get a few barks, but mostly just drooly grins and waggy tails.
So, all of that is to say, thanks, neighbors! I'm the quiet one in the earbuds, who smiles shyly back at you when you wave at me. Your introverted running neighbor loves and appreciates you!