The Year of the Dog

It all happened so quickly.  I saw the duo run across the gigantic yard in what felt like 3.2 seconds.  And then they were both there snarling, barking, and biting.  The owner came as quickly as he could but not before the dog had bitten me multiple times. I literally stood there yelling, “He’s biting me!  He’s biting me!”

I’ve been through a lot, Dear Reader, so this was not the scariest thing that’s happened to me.  It was the day before my last day of school this past spring, and I remember thinking how sad I was going to be if I didn’t get to spend the last day of school with my precious and beloved students.

And miraculously, the one dog backed off and the dog who kept biting only ever bit my clothing.  He never sunk those sharp fangs into my flesh!  What a miracle for this gal who was simply out on a late morning run.  

My t-shirt was a goner, and yes, my shorts and even my underwear had to be trashed due to the holes, but I made it out healthy and whole with only an increased pulse and a few scratches.  I made it.

That was the first time in my entire life that I’d ever had a bad experience with a dog.  And three weeks later, as I write this, I have now had four more different encounters with aggressive dogs.  This makes no sense to me!  My running routes tend to be fairly predictable.  I’d never had any issues with any of these dogs before, and now, it feels as if they are literally coming out of the woodwork.  

I’m calling it, “The Year of the Dog.”

And if you know me, you know I’m always looking for a deeper meaning.  Perhaps this has been, “The Year of the Dog,” not just literally, but metaphorically too.

A fellow educator was tasked with taking tickets and asking people to comply with the governor’s mask mandate at a recent graduation ceremony.  She endured cursing,  being yelled at too many times to count, berating, bullying, and mocking, all for doing what her boss had asked her to do.  The dogs were out in full force that night.

I’m not on Facebook much at all, but I recently popped on to share a post about my son and daughter’s recent college and high school graduations.  I scrolled down through many posts and was absolutely shocked at some of the things people had aggressively written online.  The dogs were out in full force.

3,000 incidents?  As of the writing of this article, airlines have dealt with 3,000 incidents of aggressive passengers this year?  The dogs are out in full force.

It seems no matter what “side”  (how does a pandemic even have “sides” in the first place?) a person is on, the barking, snarling dogs are out in full force to bite and intimidate.  If you aren’t wearing a mask, the dogs come to bite you.  If you are wearing a mask, the dogs come to bite you.  And pity the poor souls who say they’ve been vaccinated here in Whitley County.  The dogs call you all sorts of names and snap at you.  And I would offer, I’ve seen the reverse. I’ve seen folks who are not vaccinated who have had some dogs say some pretty awful things to them too.

And you wanna know what’s most concerning about all of these “dogs?”  All of these metaphorical dogs that I’ve seen swear, post rude or negative comments, and berate and belittle others all call themselves Christians.  

Capital “C” Church across the world, this frightens me.  No matter which side of what issue we as Christians find ourselves, are we truly to the point where we find it acceptable to swear, intimidate, and berate people?  

As a flawed Christian, I am taking a good hard look at myself and am asking all of us to please remember that people are not the enemy.  I’ll say that again: People are not the enemy.  Ephesians 6:12 spells it out, “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness.”  Satan has to be tap-dancing, because Satan knows if he can get us to act like snarling, ravaging beasts towards one another, no matter the reason or rationale, he’s got us.  

He’s got us right where he wants us, for it’s impossible to truly love one another when we are biting and fighting.   

Are you vaccinated?  You are not the enemy.  Are you unvaccinated?  You are not the enemy.  Do you not wear a mask?  You are not the enemy.  Do you wear a mask?  You are not the enemy.  Do you and I disagree about an issue?  We are not enemies!

Dear Lord, help us!  Help us call back our inner metaphorical dogs and put them in their metaphorical dog houses where they belong.  Dear Lord, please take, “The Year of the Dog” and make it, “The Year of the Dove.”  Amen and amen.  

Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.