Usually this blog focuses on some personal experiences relating to dogs in the kennel.
Today's post is unusual.
It is serious. It is sad. If you've had a bad day, you may not want to read it. If you've had a good day, you may not want to read it. So why am I writing it? Because sometimes we get a little too comfortable. Sometimes we see someone and make assumptions.
Like many dogs, Tilly is hard on toys. After several weeks of piecing this one back together, she did in her teddy bear once and for all by ripping out its guts.
You see, a friend of mine told me over dinner about a woman we both know. From the desperate sounds of it, this woman is losing her battle with alcohol addiction.
My friend has known her for years, and after the last relapse, there was no helping her. This woman is yellow from jaundice, bruised from falling, living in squalor and how she continues to get alcohol is unspeakable.
Yet when I saw this woman, it was when she was sober, dressed up, and sitting next to me in Bible study. I knew she was struggling. I knew she'd been abused horribly by the people who should have protected her more than anyone. The trust of a child was destroyed, her innocence gone forever. Somehow the lesson she learned was what love wasn't, but a child doesn't process things the same. I saw this woman's heart, and it was good.
But her pain was deep. She knew of Jesus' love for her. But that didn't stop her from taking an easier comfort in something that would dull her pain, mistaking again what love wasn't.
Now she is the worst of stereotypes. "Trailer Trash" and other names people say. But I look at that teddy bear and remember the abused child is now an abused adult, forgetting all about love.
Recently a ceremony was held to recognize the number of child abuse cases handled in a nearby county. Many of those children won't overcome their scars as they mature into adulthood.
When you see someone you want to deride by a label, don't add to their abuse. Think of them as someone who may be losing a battle - one that began a long time ago that was no fault of their own. Maybe you're the only kind face they will see. Maybe you can offer some hope. Remind them. Remind them Jesus still loves them. And Jesus wants them back, even with failures and even with pain. Jesus calls us back. Jesus is love, the kind of love that understands abuse, and the kind that endures forever.