60. I Believe There Is a Dog…A New Year’s Tale

ANOTHER EVENING WALK

This story again begins with another evening walk, with dogs, only Murphy is on the leash beside me, rather than living a desperate, feral existence. And he is doing very well, I will say, with training and integration into our life.

There is a woman in our neighborhood who took a strong dislike to me simply from watching me walk through the neighborhood. Without speaking to me, interacting with me, or even knowing my name, she decided I didn’t belong. I found this out one evening, as I was taking an evening stroll last year and stopped off to chat with some of the neighbors who were gathered in the cool of the evening.

Since then, our every encounter has been unpleasant for me, and while I chose not to hold anything against this woman for her inaccurate judgment of me, I always steeled myself if I knew there was an interaction possible, and I admit, I didn’t go out of my way to be friendly to her.

The other night was no different. As I said, I was out for an evening walk with the dogs and as I passed by her house, she was outside chatting with a neighbor. I braced myself for a nasty stare, or a snide remark, and to just keep walking. That was not to be.

As I passed with our “M” dogs, she noticed Murphy and raised her hand and voice to stop me.

Uh oh.

I BELIEVE IN DOG

I took a deep breath in, released it slowly, fixed a smile on my face and turned toward her. She left her conversation with her neighbor and came over to me.

“Oh!” she said, “You’re the one who ended up with that dog!” (Her tone was far friendlier than any I had ever heard her use.)

“Yes.” was my reply. “We did. We are very happy we did.”

Her: “I’m SO glad he ended up somewhere good. I tried to catch him a few times, but nothing doing.” (I’m thinking to myself, “somewhere nice?” We are now ‘somewhere nice’? Hmm. Ok.”)

Me: “Me too.”

Her: “He’ s such a good looking dog.”

Me: “Yes, isn’t he? He’s doing so well to. Healthy, everything all fixed up, and loving living with us. “ All the while her tone is getting warmer and warmer, as we continued the somewhat stilted conversation around the dog.

I noticed she was wearing a “Chai”, the Hebrew letter, and symbol for “life” (think of the Jewish toast, “L’Chaim!” “To Life”!). Ah. She is most likely Jewish. I also noticed it was twisted backward on its chain.

ANOTHER OF LIFE’S MANY TWISTS

I felt an impulse, an unusual one for me, to reach out and fix it. So I did. I reached out and turned her “Chai” around. It was really a very stunning piece of jewelry, crusted with matching precious stones. I said, “Forgive me, but your Chai was twisted.”

She looked up at me sharply, right in the eyes, and asked, “Do you know Jewish?!” I replied, “ A bit.” She asked, “Are YOU Jewish?” I said, “Probably not in the way you imagine.” This prompted a strafing of questions from her, all increasingly friendly. It ended with me saying that the Messiah I follow is Jewish, as is the Messiah of ALL Christians, and that I believe Christianity is actually a sect of Judaism. (No hate mail, please.)

I told her I knew that Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur and Sukkot were coming up soon and that I hoped it was good AND sweet for her and her family.

That prompted the first hug. And the next barrage of questions.

“Do you like Jewish food? Yes? But you’re gluten free? No problem.  One of my sons is Jewish baker. He can make you something gluten free. Brisket? Yes? Gefilte fish? Yes? Oh my! You’ll come for dinner and we’ll make you Jewish food! We’ll find a recipe for gluten free knish!”

More hugging. And a final exclamation from her, “I’ve never known anyone like you, honey!”

I smiled to myself because I get that a lot.

JUST LIKE THAT

And so just like that, in one of life’s many twists, in fixing her Chai, our relationship flipped from one twisted by misunderstanding, to one of budding friendship, based around my Jewish Messiah (and hers too) and an adopted dog. It flipped from one of hostility to one of mutual respect and interest.

All because of the God dog, Murphy. God’s story for him is opening doors and hearts, and not just the Hubby’s and mine.

I believe there IS a God—and that He gave us a dog named Murphy.

Remember my dear readers: ALL you need is love! Happy Hebrew New Year! May it be both good AND sweet for you and yours!