Sunday, June 14, 2015

Recovery in the Bible (RIB)


Recently, as I was praying for other people, I began looking at pictures of dogs because they always help to soften my heart. Suddenly I was looking at a picture of a dachshund and realized that it looked something like me!  “Lord, this is me,” I said out loud. “This is me: little, earnest, eager to serve, bright-eyed, at the ready.”  And then I took out my journal and wrote:

Lord, I need to pray for me, this little powerhouse, yet only tiny, one who can only do so much on such short little legs.  But I like the attitude: focused on You; ready to serve; ready to do Your will. 

A few years earlier, I had happened upon an afternoon movie entitled Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.  In it was a scene that opened up a gate for me.  It was a big gate.  A huge gate.   A rusty gate.  But not so rusty that the Lord could not pry it open.  And when He did, it opened wide. I could hear the gate open as this scene unfolded, squeaking “creak, creak, creeee—eeek!”   It was clear that something important was encapsulated in it, but what it was, exactly, was not clear at first.  Then, suddenly, I saw it: a panoramic view of my entire childhood. 

Caught in between two unhappy parents, I had been like a monkey in the middle with my parents throwing zingers at one another, over me.  I realize now they had no idea what they were doing, any more than I had any idea how I’d gotten caught in the middle. Until the gate opened onto this panoramic view. How sad the mother was in that movie – really a mess.  And the father adored his daughter. It was a replica of what I had experienced first-hand.  In my house, it had been a mess also – of their making but not their fault.  It just happened and I happened to get caught in the middle. My mother wasn’t so bad; she was hurting.  My father wasn’t so bad; he was hurting too.  They were both just human. So it was a mess of our own making but not anybody’s fault.  It just happened, and I happened to get caught in the middle.  Seeing this helps makes me softer on myself and also on other people. 

My very own mother was not someone whose love you could count on: sometimes she was nice, then, suddenly she would turn horrid.  This volatility made me angry. Very angry.  Because it seemed so unfair, so mean, so based on misunderstandings and untruths.  Maybe that’s why I’m so defensive in behalf of dogs, who, like me, seem so frequently misunderstood and falsely accused. 

Many, many people seem to be suspicious of dogs, fearful of them, or just plain don’t like them very much.  Yet, for me, it’s people who are suspect, not dogs.  There is a lady who walks in the woods where I walk my dog.  We try to avoid her, but when we do manage to encounter her, she shouts, “Get your dog on a leash!” breaking the joy running free in 500 acres of untainted forest.  She reminds me of my mother, yelling for no reason.  It seems so accusing, so unfair, so just plain mean. No, cruel -- just plain cruel. If you’re a sporting dog, you were born to run, not to be tied to a leash all your life.  If you’re someone like me, you were born to stand up Godly, not spend your life suffocating under some heavy wet blanket. No, God has freed me from tethers, from wounds of any kind. He frees me to love others as He loves me, untainted and pure, even in the midst of our mutual imperfections.

I have a whole bunch of wonderful DOG pictures without attribution. So, to the artist who drew all these dogs, I thank you. Your drawings are transforming my heart from anger to forgiveness toward people who hurt other people, as would an abused dog. It's not their fault they do not have fur, four legs, and a tail, but if they did, I would bend to seek to assure them of my love no matter what. 

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