On a walk in my neighborhood the other day, a yellow Labrador Retriever hustled up to me, no doubt looking for some affection. He was more than friendly and before I knew it, “Buddy” was snuggling up next to me as I rubbed his head.
I almost didn’t notice his owner until she and her brother called out to the dog. But in a moment, all of us were talking. Turns out, Jada and her brother, Kyle, were moving items out of a home where their mother lives; it’s time for her to downsize after her husband—Kyle and Jada’s dad—passed away in December.
We talked of the bittersweet task of moving mom out of their childhood home, but the topic soon shifted to Buddy, 110 pounds of pure love.
“He’s a miracle dog,” Jada said. “If you saw the story on Channel 5, Buddy is the dog that was run over by the train. That’s why he has no tail. Train ran over it and the best we can tell, he stayed down on the tracks until the train rolled went through.”
I confessed I hadn’t seen the story of Buddy on the news, then marveled because during the time I was petting him, I never noticed Buddy had no tail.
“He’s cut some cuts on his face, too,” Jada told me. “But they’re healing up well.”
They certainly were. I had to look extremely hard to find any blemishes at all.
Not that the tail, or the blemishes, mattered. All I could see was a loving animal anyone would want around the house; a dog giving and wanting love, and nothing more. Buddy seems like the perfect dog.
It would not have been a good idea for me, upon meeting Buddy the dog, to yell out to Kyle or Jada, “This dog of yours has no tail!” My statement would have been true, but I would be overlooking what Buddy is, which is, “A Miracle Dog.”
Tweet This: As we serve those who come into our doors, our perspective is vital. @KirkWalden #prolife
Forget the tail. I’m sure Buddy rarely thinks about it (he can’t see back there, anyway). What Buddy is, is a survivor who came through a traumatic event with his heart and his love intact. That’s good enough.
At our pregnancy help ministries, we see women and men come in the door who have been—in a metaphorical sense—run over by a train. They bring with them tragic stories; of abuse, of horrendous living situations, and of those who betrayed their trust in so many ways.
While we often can’t see it on the outside, so many have deep scars in need of healing. In addition, there is often something missing. The “something missing” may be trust, empathy, hope, the ability to love—there are so many possibilities.
Part of our mission—whether we signed up for it or not—is to see past the “something missing” in a client or patient so we can see what’s left and build on what we can.
While the trauma of the past can leave a mark—just like with Buddy—the trauma does not have to define anyone’s future. Instead, the past can be a catalyst for victory and for stories of a miracle God alone can orchestrate.
As we serve those who come in our door, our perspective is vital. Do we first see what is missing? Do we dwell on the scars of the past? Or do we see someone who is ready for a new hope?
Buddy showed me that a dog under a train can ride out the trauma and still find victory. It just took fortitude and a loving family to nurse him back to health. Sometimes, that’s exactly what we must do for those who come in our door.
Overlooking the scars, and loving through the healing. It seems like a great way to serve those we see.