I complained to my sister
about the way some people treat their dog,
how he is chained
to the loneliest spot at the far end of the property
with only a leaky old box for shelter
and a bucket to catch the rain.
The poor animal’s life is limited
to the infrequent, indifferent visit
and the food scraps that come with it.
He learns to shit at the end
of the chain’s circumference
to avoid stepping in it all day;
when the bucket is dry
he eats grass for its moisture.
His fur freezes to the ground
at night in the winter,
and he pulls it out snoutfuls of it
in the summer to get at all the fleas.
It makes me so angry,
but animals are property, and he is not mine
so I have to walk on by.
My sister was silent through it all
as I spoke with disgust,
my hands making punctuation marks in the air.
When I was spent she quietly told me
the unsaved is like that dog.
He is chained by sin
in lonely, far flung isolation.
The only things in his tiny circle
is the tiny box of his leaky beliefs
and a bucket of hope and dreams.
He may have family and friends,
but who is willing to step through the mine field
of the filthy waste of his life
and risk being bitten, or worse?
Instead, they toss him scraps
of their affection.
When the sky is empty and no hope can be found,
he chews on the grass of memories
to stay alive.
Sometimes the world can be harsh:
bitterly cold in the nights of his despair,
freezing him to wherever he lies,
or like fleas, digging into him incessantly,
nearly driving him crazy.
And here we are,
freed by the Blood and living in Grace by Faith.
We pass by him in his misery.
We shake our heads and cluck our tongues,
unwilling to free him with the truth of the Gospel
because he belongs to Satan.
She finished in silence and I felt shame
like a needle into my soul.
The analogies can go on forever
but I would rather we get up from this story
and start roaming the neighborhood
in search of the hopeless.