I am a horse person. I love horses. My daughter got her first horse at seven. My son was five. Ten years have passed since then, and I love to tell stories about the adventures my human and equine babies have had growing up together.
I was less than thrilled when neighbors moved in next door. Cows. Literally. A year ago, cows moved in. Suddenly, I faced the daily challenge of big, smelly cows in the pasture next to mine. Yuck. I am not a cow person.
Then one day, a baby cow arrived. I couldn’t believe how adorable I found this calf. The calf was clean, fluffy, shy, and he completely adored his mother cow.
I fell in love.
I started feeding the baby. No, that’s not true. I started throwing hay to the calf. And all the other cows ate the hay. Was I annoyed? Yes. At first. But then I realized the baby was still nursing. My hay was feeding the mom and other cows, so I was taking care of the baby.
And then it happened. I arrived one evening at my barn, just as the sun was setting. My happy horses greeted me. I love my horses. When I looked over, all the cows were lined up. As I turned to them, they started mooing. They knew me. And then I fell in love again, but this time with the cows. Yes, with the big smelly cows. (I realized my horses smell too, but we won’t tell them.)
Here’s the thing — cows were not what I expected in neighbors. They were not what I wanted in neighbors. They were even better, once I opened my heart.
And that’s what I’ve had to learn to do with people too. Sometimes people are much harder to love than animals. Yet once I open my heart and try to understand their world, their perspective, love comes easier.