a godless october part 4: the red hat

Dogs must be a theme for this. Because today’s reflection centers around Oliver, our Australian Shepherd, yet again. I took him for a long walk today. There’s this small dog park about a mile west of where we live in downtown Spokane. Him and I got there and had the place to ourselves. He leaped and played and ran and barked with glee. It’s what he does. But amidst all the energy, we both heard the gate to the park rattle a bit. He bolted toward it to greet the new visitor who entered. It was a pug. Tiny and pug-like, as you might expect. Snorting and grunting.

And Oliver was over the world with joy from this little thing. The two of them ran around, Oliver using his fancy footwork to toy the pug into thinking he may be able to get a lunge in that would slow Oliver down. The pug had no such luck. 

The owner of the pug had on a beat red hat. And the beat red hat had crisp white lettering on it with four words.

Yep. You guessed it. “Make America Great Again.”

The pugs owner was still proud enough in the person currently holding the office of President in our country to where that hat out and about. Greeted with an initial neurological reaction tied to animosity and angst, I wanted to roll my eyes, scoff or bark at him in the way Oliver barked at his dog. 

But then I realized that Oliver’s bark had no bite attached. No pent up animosity. My dog and his dog barked out of play and happiness. Chasing each other around and rolling on the grass. No politics or ideology separating them from the collective encounter they were having with joy. 

It’s hard for me to imagine a situation where I could interact with the man with the hat in the same way that our dogs interacted with each other. And that saddens me. Have I really such a hard heart that I can’t bridge gaps because of a man who has a four year term in office? Is there not some greater reality that can bind us that stretches beyond four years? 

Yes. I think there is. And it was reflected in the lives of our dogs. The reality of connection is built on joy and thankfulness for the other that we interact with simply existing.

Oliver was having fun alone at the park. But when that pug arrived, a whole new level of fun began. Shared fun. Shared joy. Fun tied to the respect and admiration for the pugs existence.