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I am nearing my turn around point on my run. It’s a four way intersection where I have no intention of crossing, so turning around at that spot is always a sensible thing to do but that’s not the only reason why. A sign that reads “Abbey” hangs on the tall fence of the house in the corner of the intersection. As I come to a gentle stop right next to the sign, my love for abbeys and conventions comes fully alive. I say my quick prayer for all the monks and nuns in the world before I turn around, and then I continue my run all the way back to the house.
But this morning, a dog is barking at me, a scary looking pit bull. As much as I love dogs, I am fearful of them. I have this built-up fear of dogs from my numerous road bike rides where I got chased by vicious dogs. As a result, even a pit bull puppy is an object of fear.
So I turn around with only a few feet to go before I arrive my turning point, where one of the most beautiful words I know is hanging on the tall wooden fence, my Abbey. ‘It’s ok if I turn around. I don’t have to fight this little fear. No need to be angry at the dog owner for having an unfriendly dog. Give the dog some peace. He belongs to the road, too.’, I think as I anxiously walk away from the still barking dog.
Now I am running by the small land built as water reservoir. It’s the closet to the ocean I have. I usually stop on top of the low lying hill over the water, to watch the geese and the reflection of the sunrise. Sometimes the intense light from the sunrise gets too overwhelming. The glory it radiates is mind-blowing and I lose words for a few minutes. This is a losing day for me. I’ve already lost the word “Abbey” to the pit bull. Now, I don’t even know which words I am losing.
I try to keep my focus upward, until I get to the water. I know there are countless goose droppings everywhere on the grass I am walking on. I not only do not like the idea of stepping on the goose poop, but I also have a memory of it that I do not want to be reminded of, especially this morning when I am just starting my day. After all, I have a full day ahead of me. I face a whole day of fighting against the triggers that pull me back to the places I do not wish to go back, or the times I wish to have back.
So like a child hiding from everything by covering her eyes, I lift my gaze upward avoiding the sights of the goose droppings. If I don’t see them, then I am not stepping on them. If I don’t see them, then I am not thinking about that happy day I have long lost. I am not reliving that happy memory. But that’s a wishful thinking. I make my way to the water, but, the scenes are already unfolding, quickly in my mind. My mind is fully awake, and I remember all the words. I am not losing any words this time.
Once upon a time, I had a dog. A picture perfect dog. A white fluffy dog with thick curly fur covering all his 20-pound body. He looked like a little lamb. One late evening, I took him on a leisurely walk. We walked on a beautiful golf course, enjoying the sunset over the man-made lakes spread throughout the property. It was perfect until I discovered my dog eating the goose poop. His white hair was stained in nasty green color, and I was horrified. No! Don’t do that! It’s dirty! My dog kept going after the goose poop freely available on the entire 18-hole golf course. I gave up our beautiful walk, and hurried back home. His innocence made me laugh(and worry- but the goose poop did not harm him). He had no idea what he was eating. His face was all green, and I could see his red tongue now transformed into green from all the poop he ate.
I miss our walk that evening.
I miss giving him a bath in my big jacuzzi tub that night.
I miss drying his beautiful hair.
I miss waking up to his puppy(or poopy!) breath breathing right into my nostrils.
I miss that dog.
How is it that a dog can make me run away with fear and at the same time, fill me with such happy memories?
Inside the contradictions between my mind and heart is my human journey; darkness and light, sadness and joy, despair and hope, fear and love.
I always find my way to the good path as long as I walk with Jesus.
I’ve lost my dog before I found that out.
I’ve lost many things, because I did not know Him.
Along the path, I still run into many reminders of what I have lost.
In the end, it does not matter.
Because in my heart, Jesus lives permanently.
And in His heart, all created things find peaceful eternity.
My beloved bichon frisé, and the scary pit bull find their way to get along despite the contradiction they arise in me. They find their meanings. I understand now why they came into my life. One lingered in my life for a while, the other for a very brief moment. I see now that they are all gifts from God.
I see now that life is beautiful beyond doubts and fear, beyond the contradictions, and beyond words.
When you have Love, you can encompass everything.
I see that now.
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