Crazy dogs and Reconciliation

Almost 7 years ago, we moved into this house in Hubbard.  Dad, mom, brother Avery, sister Ally and dog Kenobie.  Teacher/coach, stay-at-home-mom, 2 year old, newborn, and big, huge, gigantic Alaskan Malamute.  We were a pretty regular family.  Nice to our neighbors, had a nice lawn, 2 cars, good job, went to church, etc.

One day, just shortly after we had moved in and shortly after Ally was born, my friend and I strolled down to the park with the dog and kids.  Just before we reach our destination 2 dogs come busting across the street and attack Kenobie.  My friend grabbed the kids and strollers while I attempted to beat the dogs off Kenobie and scream at the top of my lungs.  It was quite a racket which caused neighbors to start popping their heads out to check and see.  After the 3rd dog came to join in the fight, Kenobie managed to escape and find refuge in the house we were standing next to.  The owner of the house had come out and Kenobie flew in, about knocking him over.

The owner of the three crazy dogs came strolling out looking half dazed.  I went over to her and tried to keep my cool but was very firm with her.  It seemed there were some mental issues going on with her and possibly drug stuff too.  I don’t even remember what I said but I instantly felt pity and frustration.  I also felt fear.  I had previously seen this lady toodling around town in her wheelchair with her one or two dogs with her.  AND this lady, along with her scary dogs, lived right across the street from the park. Needless to say, we walked straight back home.  Poor, Kenobie.

I ended up filing a report with the police.  Kenobie had wounds that we needed the vet to look at and I was freaked out.  I would say this is a fairly normal response.  Someone wrongs you or your possessions, you call the police.  Normal.  And when the policeman came to our house, we found out Kenobie had taken refuge in the local “drug house”.  Great.  What kind of a town did we move into?

A few months later I saw those same dogs running loose through the neighborhood.  I called the police again.

And now, years later, this lady’s mother is coming to my house for food and showing me more about who Jesus is.  Not because of anything I am doing but because of what she is doing.  I don’t know the dog lady’s name, but her mother’s name is Marie.  She is about 90 years old and smells like urine.  She birthed 10 children and loves her dogs that attacked my dog.  She is a Catholic who wears stocking caps and walks with a cane and says ‘God bless your sweet family’ every time she visits.  She still tends her garden which is by far the only beautiful part of her home and cusses up a storm.

The part of Marie that has taught me most about God is that she has welcomed Sandra, an immigrant from Mexico, into her home.  They are a strange pair.  I’m not sure how they met but there is love and acceptance in their relationship.  Actually, it is usually the two of them who come to the food pantry on Tuesdays.  Sandra often pulls her rickety car right into the driveway and parks.I just find it too strange and peculiar to not see God in all of this.  How He takes the ugliest, oldest house in Hubbard along with the local drug house, adds a few crazy dogs, the police, one messed up lady, her mother and a Mexican immigrant to teach one young lady about how His desire is to reconcile EVERYTHING to Him.

It is so like God to not forget.  My fear, judgment, and frustrations over that lady and her dogs needed His reconciliation.

I wonder how many times I have justified my actions or have been justified by culture and never given a thought to whether God wanted to reconcile that moment back to Him.  I have not said anything to Marie about the dog incident, but I can imagine God has that in His plans for me and her.  No matter what, His grace and mercy cover us.

Plant an extra row

One of the easiest (and fun) things you can do to help those in need is to plant an extra row of each type of vegetable you plant in your garden this spring and tithe that to a local food pantry.  If you have kids, it can be a real positive learning experience that is more tangible and meaningful than simply giving money, or even canned food, to ministries that reach the marginalized.  Giving up your time and energy to cultivate nourishment for folks connects you to others in your community in a much deeper way than simply giving financially.

Many folks living in poverty do not have access to land in order to grow their own produce.  Purchasing fresh produce at the grocery store in most cases is more expensive than buying canned food.  Fresh produce is better for you and, as we all know, tastes a whole lot better too.  So, if you can, plant an extra row for the Jubilee Food Pantry!