Every once in a while although we try to be nice to those around us, still someone just doesn’t return the kind feelings. And so it went with one of my neighbors. Sadly this negative state of affairs went on for many years. Thinking back, the only instance of interaction that I can even remember is when I chatted with him, more me than him, as two new neighbors having just moved into a neighborhood. At that time, he was washing his car and I was about to head into the park to take a walk. His house is just at the end of the cul-de-sac before the steps to the walkway. Although I interpreted the brief interchange as pretty normal, he must have thought otherwise; since, from that moment onward he never spoke to me again. In fact, when I would pass him going on my walks with his little terrier, he would turn away as if I had developed the plaque. And the same would be true if he was walking with his wife. At first I wondered why he would be so abhorrent towards me and then I just figured he must have thought I had some ulterior motive in speaking to him. Isn’t it a shame that a single woman can’t approach a married man in her neighborhood without being branded a hussy? Well, of course, I’m being sarcastic, but the end result is the same – he just wouldn’t speak to me. Eventually, I accepted the situation and passed it off. Everyone is not meant to be one’s friend.
Now my philosophy is that we are constantly presented with situations that test our moral fiber, as well as opportunities to learn lessons. One of these situations came to pass during Memorial Weekend, when I went for my usual walk in the park. As I approached the bridge just before the plaza, I saw my neighbor’s dog surrounded by people – with his collar but no neighbor at the end of the leash! To confirm my suspicion I asked the lady hovering over the little dog to check his tag and sure enough, the address was my street. “That’s my street and that’s my neighbor’s dog”, I said. “I’ll walk him home”, I continued without giving it another thought or considering that I had a plan to go to an event that would have to be by-passed to complete this new mission. After all, if my pet were lost, I’d want someone to get him home too. But when I tried to take the dog back into the plaza to first look for the owner, the little guy wouldn’t budge. He seemed afraid. So I headed for home and he willingly trotted along. I asked the concerned pet lady to come too since I really wasn’t sure how my having the neighbor’s dog would be received even with my best of intentions.
Once back at the neighbor’s home, his wife was at the garage door, so I called inside, “I have your dog!” She came outside, took the leash out of my hands, barely saying any thank-you with a very surprised look on her face. I felt that I had done my neighborly duty, spiritual responsibility and just plain obligation according to my karmic belief system. I even expressed concern over the owner’s possible safety if he’d allowed the dog to get loose. Was he in poor health himself or possibly had an accident?
I decided I really wanted to finish my walk, so back I went into the park and headed down to the bridge and the plaza. At the same spot where I intercepted the dog, I walked right into the owner – now about 25 minutes later. He too had a very surprised look on his face when I said, “I walked your dog home, and your wife has him”. The neighbor, obviously frustrated from searching for the little dog, was now relieved and gave me a warm-hearted thank-you. And I walked on completing my walk not thinking more about it.
The next day, there was a knock at my door. It was the neighbor with his terrier in toe, and this time he really thanked me with great emotion in his eyes. I doubt that I will ever have an issue with this neighbor again. Even though he had directed negative energy towards me for many years, I chose to do the right thing by him. I took the high road as one would say. Now this could just be a case of coming full circle and feeling good about it. But the story doesn’t end here.
The following weekend I went on a retreat and lots of unexpected good things came my way. So not only did I create positive karma, I also was in abundance and began to reap rewards very quickly! And in the few weeks since then, other good things have come my way. Holding one’s self up to a higher standard may be difficult at times, but in the end, I certainly feel it pays off. Being a good soul has its rewards now as well as later. What goes around doesn’t always come around – sometimes it’s better.