Lately, when I think about humanity, I wouldn't say that I'm overtaken with feelings of warm-fuzzies. With political forces creating division among us, a pandemic making us fearful of one another, and a commute where it often feels like I'm trying to avoid vehicular manslaughter on the daily, I really needed to witness the heart-warming event that happened this week.
Danny Rampage and I were driving our little blue roach down highway 62 on Sunday morning. I was reading aloud an article I'd come across, which was drawing comparisons between the current pandemic to the 1918 flu. I was fascinated (though not surprised) to learn that the US government had done all they could to cover up the fact that anyone was ill. The first case of the "Spanish Flu" was actually reported to have inflicted an American soldier at a military camp. At that time, journalists caught saying anything even slightly disparaging about the war effort would be imprisoned. So it was never announced that sickness was sweeping through the troops. Our sniffling infantry was packed up and sent overseas to pass the pestilence on to the unsuspecting soldiers of Europe.
I digress. As I was orating, Danny suddenly yelled, "Oh no!" and pulled the car off to the shoulder. It was then that I picked my head up and saw a beautiful German Shephard, trotting towards the highway. Danny immediately jumped out of the car and chased after the dog, who was clearly lost and confused. Soon traffic began pulling over, creating a barricade. It was like a large-scale, choreographed roadside production. Nobody honked, nobody swore out their windows or elicited the use of their middle digits. Humanity behaved for a moment, like a well-oiled machine with one common goal- to keep this dog from getting smashed. People got out of their cars with dishes of dog food and leashes in tow, each offering up their strategies to corral the poor animal.
With one truck riding alongside the canine to prevent her from running back out onto highway 62, and a half-dozen pedestrians encircling her, she was led onto an entrance ramp- where she somehow avoided being hit on yet another busy highway. At last, one of the owners saw her and called her name. She picked up her head and ran with gusto over 6 lanes of traffic and back to her home. The group of compassionate citizens returned to their vehicles and will all have a similar heroic story to tell.
What I took from this "happy ending" experience is that maybe we all do want a greater good to prevail. We want to help, but with so much to fix, it's hard to know where to start. With fires and floods, diseases and desperations at every turn, saving a dog was the thing that seemed manageable in that moment. Maybe if we started to think of every challenge as a runaway dog heading for danger, we could save the world.