“Billie, time to wake up,” I said, reaching into the crate where my 14.5 year old Jack Russell slept. He had been sleeping for too many hours. I was concerned. I called his name. No response. I clapped my hands. No response. I believe he has lost his hearing just lately.
I reached my hand confidently into the cage. Mistake. Confident? Not too confident after he snapped at me. Then again, he has been doing that for years when he isn’t happy with me. Good old tenacious Jack Russell.
“Sometimes we hurt the ones helping us,” I said to him, pulling him out of the XL crate where he had wandered in to take his all-morning nap.
I listened to the words that tumbled from my mouth. Yes, so true. How many times have I hurt the ones helping me? Too many. How many times have those I have helped hurt me? It has happened.
“Sometimes we lash out at the very ones helping us,” a friend said some years ago. “Have you ever had a dog that lashed out at you when all you were doing was trying to help?” Yes, of course. I had thought of one back then in particular. She was petrified of receiving help. She had learned not to trust.
I had learned the same. I knew not to trust – especially to question those I loved the most, the ones who should have protected me and loved me safely all along. When trust is broken, it doesn’t always grow back – not quickly, anyway. Sometimes not at all. But I am learning to put my trust in the only one that never fails. Jesus.
As I left the room where my Jack Russell had finally gotten his motor re-started, I realized I needed to write about this. Right away. I know I am not alone. I know there are others. Sad to say, we are quite capable of hurting those helping us. So how do they respond?
The ones who were grounded in the Lord stuck by me. Others became offended and sauntered – and sulked – away. Some probably retaliated. Who knows. I am not sure I even remember them all.
What about me? When I have been grounded in God’s love, I have been able to respond correctly – in love. But all too often, I became offended. I sauntered – and sulked – away. With my tail between my legs, of course. Sometimes I retaliated – in anger. For I refused to understand. When I was not grounded in God’s love, I did not respond with compassion. I did not realize, and recognize, and respond appropriately to the fact that as one well known preacher likes to say, “hurting people hurt.”
Yes, dogs sometimes hurt the ones helping them. So do we people.
I cannot control how someone responds to me, but it is high time I respond graciously – with God’s love and mercy – to those I am led to help.
Along with this, I need to learn to accept the help God sends me and to keep myself from hurting the ones helping me. Sometimes they walk into a wall – one I have created due too old wounds. But more often than not these days, as the walls have come tumbling down, I am more able to remember this. I don’t need to hurt the people helping me.
In fact, I can even say – THANK YOU.
Thank you Lord for all those you have sent to me to help me. Please forgive me for those I have hurt. Please help me to remember to be thankful. Please help me to receive the help you send me. And Lord, if I have forgotten to ask forgiveness from anyone I have hurt along the way, or if I simply cannot get in touch with them, please tell them for me. I am sorry. And thank you. Thank you for helping me. And please forgive me for hurting you.
I think of one such friend who is in heaven now. She stood grounded in love when I hurt her. She helped me all the way through. I know she prayed for me even when I had turned away. And because she stood in God’s love, and because God restored me, He restored both of us also.
Praise the Lord.