I met a Muslim family in a parking lot the other day. I should say that my dog met them, spotting the couple's little boy getting out of the car. As she does with children, she began wiggling her body and nodding her head as if to say, "Hey. I see that you've got the spirit of a puppy, too. Come over here and let's play...."
Shyly, the boy approached after what seemed like five minutes; his parents in tow. Closer now, and after a few moments more, he reached out and touched the tan and white, 50-pound canine and giggled with joy. Lula immediately felt it, opened her mouth, and lifted her head skyward.
The thought in my head was verbalized by the boy's father: "Did she just smile?" In disbelief, I nodded. "I think she did" were the words exiting from my astonished face.
Belief systems are powerful, sometimes too powerful, but they are still disarmed by the innocent and the unexpected and the joy that finds its way through the armor of our thoughts that separate us, offering us brief but transparent reminders of how much we really have in common.