We recently adopted a rescue Jack Russell Terrier with the original name of Jack. He is just what we needed. He is full of energy compared to our older dogs. He races around the yard, throwing his own toys into the air to catch, learning not to bite chickens or cats, and finding out the boundaries. He also has told us that his favorite place in the house is either Daddy’s recliner or by 10:00pm, the middle of the bed. Needless to say, he has made himself at home. Of course he hit the jackpot with us. His daddy always divides scraps evenly, and they are not really scraps but saved bites.
However, love is not always easy. One morning I couldn’t find him in the yard. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed him. He had gotten into out neighbor’s yard, the neighbor with two rather vicious Catahoulas, the kind used to hunt wild hogs. Although I had never seen them be vicious to humans, I had seen them salivate when Jack ventured too close to the fence. Maybe he seemed like a tasty rabbit. I had no doubt they would eat him alive in short order.
Quietly, I slipped over the pool ladder that connects our two yards, grabbed Jack, and threw him over just as the Catahoulas saw me. As I came down on our side and the Catahoulas rushed to the fence snarling and snapping, Jack ran back to the fence to protect me. He didn’t realize that the big dogs could reach through the fence to him.One dog had his paw trying to pull him through the wire while the other had his snout. I screamed and kicked until the snout-holder let loose, then reached to pull Jack’s paw back. But to my surprise, Jack bit into MY fingers just like the Catahoula was biting his paw. I don’t know how we all got separated, but thankfully there was just more blood, noise, and adrenaline than actual damage. No stitches needed.
But why had Jack turned on me, the one who had rescued him before and was trying to rescue him now? Why do we turn on the ones we love the most?
I remember when my mama was in her last days of Alzheimer’s, a deadly, evil disease. She would often lash out at me, the one who had been there in the day-to-day. Did she know she could vent and I would still love her? I hope so.
And don’t we do the same to God? Lashing out at him for the evil in this world?
What is unconditional love all about? Not just God’s unconditional love for us, but our trust in Him that we can vent to Him when we feel attacked and want to hit back. He is big enough to handle our anger and fear.
That night, with my bandaged fingers, I lifted Jack up into our bed. He was safe. He was loved. All was forgiven. Let us love each other like that.