Junior High was painful experience for me. There were some who accepted me or at least tolerated me in my school, but the ones who rejected me did so in such a hurtful and public way that I felt universally despised. Without a loving, stable family I would have despaired.
My mom and dad tried to encourage me. They arranged successes for me in Christian work. Dad got up every morning and delivered papers with me. On winter evenings we spent hours talking and playing chess. On long drives we had long talks.
Since childhood I longed for my very own dog. One day my grandmother arranged with my parents for me to have a toy poodle. His name was Chris. He was black and we only trimmed his hair around the eyes, so he was a little ball of black fur. He was my very own dog, very loyal to me. He slept on the foot of my bed every night. He would nudge me awake when he needed to go out. He was always waiting for me when I returned from school. When I came in the door he would run around the room with excitement. He jumped into my lap as soon as I sat down. Because of the rejection I felt every day at school I had a strong emotional tie to the little dog.
The first day of the Christmas break my seventh-grade year. I walked over to the door to check the mail. Before I could stop him Chris ran out into the yard. A lady who lived down the street was driving her big car fast past the house. I called for Chris to come back, but my little dog ran out the door, through the yard and directly into the path of her car. She ran over him and didn’t even slow down.
In an instant he was dead. There was noting I could do about it – nothing anyone could do. I was devastated, but what hurt the most was that she didn’t even come back to say she was sorry. I knew there was nothing she could have done but she didn’t even care enough to come back and morn by dog’s death with me. It would have made the next few weeks easier for me.
Life is full of hurt. Inevitably you will hurt others even if you try hard to be careful. One way to ease the pain of the injuries you inflict on others is to go back as soon as possible, acknowledge what you did, and grieve with the one you hurt – weep with them, and sincerely seek their forgiveness. When you see someone grieving, it’s tempting to leave them alone. Don’t do it. Go to them and grieve with them.
August 10, 2008