Friday, January 20, 2017, was a tough morning for Isaac the dog.
Our morning walk was earlier than usual, and the weather warmer. We did not make our weekly sabbath ride to the McDonald's drive-thru afterwards for breakfast. Instead, we drove to a neighboring town. His eyes turned downward in lament. If dogs were capable of dread, this was a day he dreaded.
It was time for his monthly bath at the local doggy spa.
Even though the employees shower him with treats and praise, and he smells like vanilla & honey soap afterwards, Isaac dislikes bath time. Perhaps the dryer scares him or he'd rather keep long nails. Maybe he's overstimulated and nervous by all the activity of the spa. I don't know the reason behind his strong opinion, but I do know that his opinion does not change the reality that he needs baths.
Of course, Isaac was not the only unhappy creature on January 20, 2017. As a rainy Inauguration Day dawned in Washington, DC, social media lit up with the division of praise & lament that has permeated the political atmosphere in the USA for over a long time. Dread, fear, and uncertainty are rampant. As a pastor, I have heard people voice concerns as well as people declare hope in the new presidency. As a person, I have many concerns but cling to hope in a God who makes all things new.
I did not want to watch the Inauguration any more than Isaac wanted to get a bath, but I felt a responsibility to do so--to remain informed and to form opinions based on what I would see and hear. I tried to pay attention, and I tried to pray. There were moments that surprised me with promise: a camera hovering over the then-President-elect before he emerged to the crowd, catching a nervous tremor in his face and hands, where the weightiness of the job seemed to touch him. There were times that rattled me, too: the reading of Jesus' first lines in the Sermon On The Mount, "Blessed are the poor...." soon followed by the declaration, "Make America rich again."
It was in the final lines of the inaugural address that Isaac decided enough was enough. He ran into the kitchen, his blue bow tie sideways, and nudged the containers I use for recycling. He loves to ride to the recycling bin, and he said with no words, "It's time to go."
I chuckled and asked, "Do you want to make America laugh again?" He lay down on the kitchen floor and invited me to rub his belly (Translation: yes, on this one condition).
Isaac reminded me that it was time to move forward. We must accept reality even if we don't like reality. There is work to do. There is love to give. There are prayers to offer. There are opinions to express.
For those of who are excited about the words of the new president, let us not allow zeal to turn into hate.
For those of us who are upset about the words of the new president, let us not allow grief to turn into bitterness.
Let's move forward to love God.
Let's move forward to love one another.
Let's move forward not as a nation but as a people who are called to live and love as the body of Christ not only in this nation but throughout the world.
all good things to each of you,