Walking Around the Neighborhood – and Loving It

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39

It wasn’t raining. My brain was fried from meetings and working on a sermon. It was close to supper time. “I’m going for a walk,” I announced to my wife.

The air was fresh after the rains. A dog barked somewhere. I headed down the street. A college student rolled by on a bicycle. “She really should have stopped at this intersection,” I thought to myself. Stop signs and red blinking lights seem to hold no sway over young people on bikes and skateboards. The Number 7 bus motored by as I took the turn. I heard a siren off in the distance.

I have this habit of counting how many steps I take on each concrete square of sidewalk. “If I take two steps on this one, I can make it with only one step on the next one.” Sometimes this game becomes an obsession with me when I am out walking. Bacon …!

The market on the side street must have been cooking their bacon in anticipation of the evening rush on sandwiches. I breathed in  – deep. “There’s that American Bungalow house,” I thought to myself, lifting my eyes from the sidewalk, noticing the design of the houses and yards as I walked by. Hamburgers …!

Or was it steak? He was across the street, standing at his grill; and when he saw me he smiled and waved as I walked by. One of my nameless neighbors – friendly. There was a slight roar in the heavens. I stopped and looked to the east toward the airport. It has all been explained to me, but still I marvel at what it is that makes it possible for an airplane to fly. The jet glided, its long, lean body angled slightly upward as it climbed toward the clouds. “How is that possible?” I wondered to myself for the millionth time.

Somewhere someone was burning wood. I canvassed the chimney tops looking for the tell-tale sign of smoke wisping toward the heavens. And then it occurred to me: I love this neighborhood!

If you get a chance today, consider taking a walk around the neighborhood where you live – or where you work. Take in the sights, the sounds, the smells. Pray for the neighbors or co-workers you know who are in the midst of  troubled times. Give thanks for the freedom to be able to take such a walk. And let yourself love this place we call “home”.

A blessed Tuesday.

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.