This morning, Lola (my toy poodle) and I were sitting on the deck enjoying the sunlight.
I was drinking my coffee and reading, while she was exploring the perimeter of the deck as if she were an inspector.
When all of a sudden, we heard a rummage in the trees up above.
We both look up and see about 5 squirrels chilling in the branches.
Not only did we see them, but they saw us...well, they saw Lola.
One squirrel in particular was extra curious about Lola and decided to jump to the tree closest to her and run down about 15 feet away from Lola.
The squirrel stopped and stared.
All of the sudden, I have a flashback to the classic, old movie, "The Birds." Instead of "The Birds", our movie would be entitled, "The Squirrels." Doesn't sound so scary, but if you had 5 or 55 squirrels staring at you, maybe it would be.
Anyway, at this point, Lola and Mr. Squirrel are having a standoff.
I'm not sure exactly what was running through the squirrel's mind, but I would imagine it would be thinking something to the effect of, "What is that fluffy, white thing down there?"
He stands there for awhile just staring at Lola, while I'm ready to jump to the rescue in case he wanted to hop on the back of Lola for a poodle ride or worse...breakfast.
She continues to look up at him.
Meanwhile, the other squirrels are running and jumping through the overhang of the trees.
I guess Mr. Squirrel got tired of staring at Lola or perhaps the other squirrels were coaxing him to come play. So Mr. Squirrel turned around and joined his friends.
Lola looks back at me with her head cocked as if to say, "Why won't they play with me?"
Again, she looks above and continues to watch the squirrels frolic in the trees.
If only we were in a Disney movie like Bambi, the squirrels would befriend Lola and they would play for the rest of their days.
Unfortunately, Lola doesn't live in a Disney movie so she was left alone on the deck without anyone to play with, but me.
This interaction made me think of life in general.
Why is it that we like to separate ourselves from people who are different than us?
Just because people are different than us, doesn't mean we can't get along.
Out of the squirrels, Mr. Squirrel was the most curious of Lola.
However, he wasn't curious enough to interact with her. He only stayed at a safe distance.
Poor Lola, that had to feel so isolating.
We can either be like the other squirrels in the branches, who don't even want to try to interact with a fluffy poodle or we can be like Mr. Squirrel, who is curious enough to get a closer look.
Perhaps there is a better option than those two.
Perhaps we can go the extra step or as Jesus said, "extra mile" to interact with people who are different than us, no matter how uncomfortable we may feel. I bet the more interactions we would have, the less uncomfortable it would be.
This isn't a new issue either. We've been dealing with this problem since the beginning of time. The victims just seem to change. Why haven't we gotten this right after all these years?
If Jesus were here, I would hope that our reality would turn into a Disney movie, because I know Jesus would expect us to love those who are different than us.
He tells us to love God and love others, just like He did.
I don't think He was uncomfortable when He hung out with the poor and the sick, but I'm sure it didn't feel good when He was ridiculed because of His act of service to all. That didn't stop Him though.
The Kingdom of God, I think, looks a lot like a Disney movie without the bad guy, of course.
It looks like a poodle and some squirrels hanging out.
It looks like a lion and lamb lying together.
It looks like us interacting and loving ALL people despite our differences, because ALL people are made in the image of God.
It's funny how some animals can reflect what we're dealing with today.
Let's show people the Kingdom of God and if we struggle with that, we should pray asking for strength to love like He loves us.