The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
Isaiah 11: 6
Sometimes, if we have eyes to see, there is a peaceable kingdom nearby.
Take the dog park. I had never set foot in a dog park before this summer. I didn’t think strange dogs would get along. I was completely unprepared for the unpredictable, unrestrained fun of the dog park. Here are a few observations:
- Everyone is admitted. Small dogs, big dogs, pure breeds, and mutts happily share the space. All kinds of people gather there whose only tie is dog ownership. We hang out while our dogs enjoy themselves. A part-time college student/ dog trainer shared insights on my dog’s possible ancestry. A teen whose parents spoke no English showed off her Husky puppy. An OSU retiree shared her fondness for northern Michigan. Where else can we meet and spend time with such a variety of people?
- Dogs deal with their issues. A new dog runs right into a crowd of dogs. Immediately, they all sniff each other, and maybe there’s a growl and a show of teeth, or a bite. And then it’s usually over. At the same time, their people “deal with their issues.” Once, I had been talking with someone, and realized I needed to, um, clean up, so then I was wandering, eyes glued to the ground, when someone called out, “to the left a ways!” No fuss, just take care of it.
- The dog park is a place of joy. Dogs race. They sniff; they visit each other’s people. They dig. They follow a new friend. They can’t get enough of being unleashed.
A dog is not going to lead us into the kingdom of heaven, but I thank God for unexpected moments of joyful welcome, of surprising peace, in this busy world