Wednesday, April 09, 2014

How easy it is to be spooked

So much tragedy in the news--always, but it somehow seems worse to me tonight. The stabbing at a Pennsylvania school--you reach out emotionally over the distance to the parents of the wounded, especially the one boy on life support, and to the family of the perpetrator. Grief that I cannot imagine. And the hit-and-run at the California day care center, with one child dead and several injured--as with Newton, how do you send your young child to school one day and then learn that he or she is never coming home again? The ongoing search for Malaysia Flight 370--those families must be numb by now, and yet they need the closure.
I see minor tragedies all around me--ones that don't make the world weep but only those directly involved. They touch my heart as much. I'm known for posting lost, found, and endangered dogs on Facebook. Tonight I read about a woman whose Westie was apparently taken from her driveway. Several other expensive lap dogs were missing in the same Fort Worth neighborhood which points to a thief who probably took them for sale. I know only too well the panic that comes when a dog is missing. I watch Sophie like a hawk because she's convinced there's a great big, wide, welcoming world out there. She knows nothing of cruelty to animals--why would she? She has a coterie of people who love her. And she knows nothing of cars, has no street sense. A dog fight? What's that?
Tonight I got spooked, and I think it's because of that Westie in the context of larger tragedies. Sophie was outside, and I was at my desk when I heard a noise in the driveway behind me. Actually it sounded like drops of water, but I ruled that out since it's not raining. I decided I'd feel better if Sophie were inside--she's quick to bark at both imaginary and real threats, though we have few of the latter.
I went to get her, but she didn't come and I felt a moment's panic. If I'd thought for a second I'd have realized none of the motion-sensitive lights came on, and Sophie rarely comes immediately when I call her. But, with my usual bribe of "Treat!" I slammed the door and went into the kitchen, a technique that usually work. But I was thinking, "What if she doesn't come this time?" (I've been working on a Kelly O'Connell mystery tonight, and Kelly does a lot of "what if" thinking!) Of course, when I went back she was on the deck and ready to come in. I had let my imagination run away with me again--better at nine at night than three in the morning!
But I think we get more easily spooked in a world where tragedy, major and minor, seems to be all around us. I remember when that tsunami hit in December several years ago, a non-believer friend said to me, "I see you so firm in your belief and I think I could join you, but then something like this happens. How can I believe in a God who lets a tsunami kill thousands?" I was at a loss, so I asked a ministerial friend who said, if I remember rightly, "Shit happens." But I think the best answer I got was from another minister who said, "God doesn't prevent tragedy--man-made or natural. But he is there to guide us through it, to wrap us in his love and hold out his hand." I believe that.
And I'm not going to get spooked at three in the morning. Now I have to go let Sophie in again.

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