“Inspire To make A Difference”
August 16, 2018
Some people have their best conversations or do their best thinking (and I have heard, best singing) in the shower. Not me! I believe my best on-my-feet thinking comes whenever I have these early morning walk-n-talks with Abby. She has a way of posing such seemingly innocent but self-serving yet pointed questions. She does her “Border collie” species proud!
So anyway, this morning (Sunday) as we were racing up a hill, she questioned why I am forever trying to get her to not bark at every unexpected sound or every person who walks by the house, (or into my office when she comes to work with me). I tried explaining for the zillionth time that while I understand that it’s in her nature to bark to strangers (who might secretly be wolves trying to hurt her sheep – one never knows), just because it is a part of her nature, she does not have to do this every time. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to do it each and every time.
So she asked for concrete examples. It’s like being a Met’s fan, I told her. You know the team, as constituted, is abysmal. The season cannot end soon enough, and there is little hope for the near future. You CAN always choose to support another team and end the pain. But I choose not to. My dad and uncle brought me to my first game when I was 12. It’s where I belong. Just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should.
When I’m driving on stretches of road without another car in sight, I certainly CAN exceed the speed limit. After all, who would know? But should I? So Abby, you can bark, but perhaps you should choose to not bark
So then she asked: is it like this: you American humans certainly could choose to not sink into social media hype and hate speech diatribes towards others with whom you disagree. You can avoid hate centered town gatherings and marches if you choose to. You just choose to not do the right thing. Just like I choose to bark and not be quiet.
Now I explained it’s more complicated than that. Here we have laws and systems of rights and guaranteed freedoms and all the complexities of 21st century high tech political and social life with which to contend. So she retorts: I’m not sure what any of that means. I just know that you told me that simply because you can do something, that doesn’t mean you always should. So I guess this only applies to dogs and not humans? Now that sounds right and just .. not! These early morning walks-n-talks are starting to give me a headache! I hate it when she’s right!
— Fr. Joe