A Stray Pup & Forgiveness
As I finally took some time to work on my painting my mind replayed the busy last few weeks of my life. – Wow! What an interesting few weeks it has been!
“To err is human. To forgive, divine.” (Alexander Pope)
It began on a Saturday when a stray dog wandered up. The second that I laid eyes on him I let out a gasp in complete shock and disbelief. Never, ever have I seen a living creature look so dead. The dog, a Boxer, hesitantly came over to accept an offering of food and water from my husband. The poor boy’s little bobbed, nub of a tail wagged incessantly. His body had been reduced to a semi-alive, emaciated, skeletal condition. Each vertebrae, each rib, each joint in the hips and the shoulder were almost as formatively visible as any veterinary program’s fleshless, skeletal teaching specimen held together by wire. The Boxer is a breed of large dog, and yet this boy’s waist (behind the ribs and before the hips) had been reduced to a mere 2 ½ or 3 inches max. His movements were slow and lethargic. He had no energy left in his little body. We happily took this poor boy in hoping to bring him back to health.
“Houston” as the stray pup is now called (after the street where he was found) had no flees and was remarkably clean. He even sat for me when I asked. He was not micro-chipped and had no collar or identification. To spite his horrific body condition and appearance, his hair was soft, like a puppy’s. A thorough vet exam produced an educated estimate of his age to be around 6 months to 1 ½ years.
As much as I wanted to believe that “Houston” had been wandering about for long enough to have landed himself in such a dire physical state, the clues point us to a far more likely, far more unpleasant circumstance. Houston was likely kept inside and simply not fed. The reasons why a person or persons might not feed an animal vary, but the result is definite.
Yet, this dog has demonstrated more divinity in his plight than most humans.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid the power to forgive is devoid the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
In spite of being starved, Houston has forgiven men. He clearly has reason to begrudge the human kind, yet he doesn’t. Instead, he forgive. He loves. Houston, through his ability to forgive, has actually given himself a fresh start. Gone are days of the past. Gone are those broken relationships. Now, new relationships are formed: relationships based on love in spite of past transgressions. Had he not come to us, he likely would have perished within the week.
Today, in America, we see various special interest groups on university campuses comprised of students demanding a variety of measures that they believe will right past wrongs, end all pain, and put the world at peace. Many of these demands center on “white privilege.” The idea that past grievances determine the “goodness” of an entire race of people is not only illogical and shallow, but is also diminishes the humanity and the value and worth of those people as well. This idea has no clear goal in mind. There is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Instead, “endocrinees” of this social theory are none the better: these young people are still left with a spiritual void in their souls, hearts primarily filled with anger, and minds focused solely on vengeance.
Behind the anger lies pain. Pain can only be healed through love. Forgiveness is hard, but it allows us to let go of our pain and finally move on.
Christ taught us to strive for forgiveness.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
Just like “Houston” has demonstrated, it is through forgiveness that we unload the weight of the past, giving ourselves a new start, a new future. Forgiveness isn’t just a gift to others. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.
So, the next time you feel angry, wronged, please remember that the weight of anger only drags us down. The gift of forgiveness is what allows us to move forward. We should all, myself included, be a little more like dear “Houston.”
I have been suffering from “artist’s block.” Finally, I decided I would try painting some very simple blue flowers. I do love the spring! So, this week, I just played around with a few simple lines, adding a background of “reeds” before I go any further.