I’ve said and thought this so many times before: There is so much good in this world! And there is so much hard! We humans are a chaotic breed: capable of immense kindness and goodness, and despairing evil as well. Some days, this reality is harder to hold than others.
Take yesterday, for example.
I was walking Phil in the neighborhood and rounded the corner by my house to see a school bus dropping off kids. Before I even saw her, my delightful 10-year-old neighborhood screeched from inside the bus, “PERFECT TIMING!” and then flew out the bus door into Phil’s arms. Err, paws. It was hard to tell who was more excited about this embrace and the subsequent three minutes of puppy-loving-attention: my dog-loving neighbor, or my people-loving dog. It made me laugh out loud.
Perfect timing, indeed.
And then later, I was at the park with Eamon and Phil, where they were both more interested in taste-testing the wood chips that actually engaging in any of the playground equipment. Phil quickly made a crowd of friends, one of whom immediately started informing me all about my dear pup’s preferences: He likes when I scratch behind his ears! This is his most favoritist stick! He likes me A LOT!
“Do you have a dog at home?” I asked her, on account of her display of canine knowledge.
“No,” she replied. “We stay in a hotel. Can’t have dogs there.”
Ugh. I walked home from the park deflated, not sure if I was mad (how do we live in a culture that allows childhood homelessness?!), sad (that poor girl!), or guilty (I have a secure home – and I still complain about it!).
But I also felt gratitude. Certainly for my home, my job, security. But also for this sweet girl. And my neighborhood. That I have friends of all ages and races and economic situations who stop and chat with me (ok, mostly my dog really). And, as much as I don’t want to believe that homelessness or any other evil is real – let alone for children – the fact is that it is. And I’m reminded of it on a near-daily basis. Which I pray causes my heart to remain soft and my resolve to impact this world – or even my little neighborhood – for good.