Tuesday we headed out to look at a couple foreclosures. On the way, we spotted a boy walking down the middle of the street, straight toward us. He looked to be about ten years old. And didn’t seem concerned at all that a car was coming.
He didn’t have the demeanor of a reckless or rebellious kid. Something seemed to be off…. His eyes stared past us, his jaw and shoulders were set, and his stride was unflinching, almost as if he wished a car would hit him. My husband’s voice was strained, “That’s a troubled kid.” My husband has seen many of those as a teacher. He continued, “There’s anger in there.” I added, “He’s hurting.” When we see kids like that we know there’s something huge there and we want to help them. And many times you’re not in a position where you can. “I wonder how many people would just roll down their window and shout at him to get out of the way. They wouldn’t see the anger and hurt. They would only compound the trouble.”
We learned a couple years ago that things are not always the way they seem, and sometimes there are horrific things in people’s lives we know nothing about. And we need to be sensitive to that. We learned that lesson again on an even greater level only a few months ago.
We all have a desire to help those we are close to. What about those we aren’t close to? Or don’t understand? Or who are different from us? Or in a situation where we could get hurt?
Surprisingly, our pets reminded me of how we should be willing to help others.
Backstory: The first time our dog and cat met, Lester clawed Chloe. Ever since then, Chloe has steered clear of the cat. We are currently staying with my husband’s mom, and she has two dogs. We keep Lester separate from the two dogs at all times.
The other night, I noticed Chloe’s hair was standing on end, and she was trying to push one of the dogs around. That’s not normal. Before I could get after her, I heard Lester spat. The other dog was only a couple feet away from him. It took a couple minutes to keep tabs on both dogs, keep them away, and pick up an extremely poofy cat. When I set him down on the right side of the baby gate, I realized Chloe had helped me in keeping the dogs off our cat. Even after Lester was safe, Chloe would still place herself between the dogs (that were bigger than her, I might add) and the baby gate, and lean on them until they moved on. She kept her eye on them the rest of the night.
Who knew? Who knew that our dog who refuses to play with our cat or to lay near him, because of fear, would get between Lester and those who wished him harm? It’s cute. And a desirable trait in a pet. But it’s also a valuable lesson for us humans. Are we willing to stand up for/protect others when it could damage us? When the opposition is bigger? When the opposition is our friends?