This I Believe

thomas - santa barbara, California
Entered on March 9, 2007

It was a stormy evening six years ago on New Years Eve in Santa Barbara. The creeks were overflowing with brown mountain runoff on this moonless night. All you could hear was the wind pushing through the trees and the rain falling. It reminded me of a scene from a movie or a descriptive verse in a poem from my past. I was seventeen at the time and was in spending a mellow evening with a friend playing video games. Deep into our Mario Cart mission, my friend’s dog senses another animal and, hair raised on his back begins to guard and growl at what is on the other side of the front door. We, scared and paranoid, peer outside to see what we expect to be a vicious demon carried in by the dark stormy winds only to find a timid black lab shivering on our doorstep. Like most normal and kindhearted people my friend immediately went outside with a towel to make sure the dog was ok and to dry it off. As he approached the animal in need I began to get scared and imagined the animal, as being vicious, possessed, rabid or unpredictable. I chose not to help the animal in need because I was too scared. My friend took the animal in, fed it, gave it water and made a bed for it in the garage so it could warm up get some rest as I stood by and observed apprehensively.

The clock turned midnight as I sat in thought about the unique event of the evening and then it hit me. I began to understand that I had no reason to fear the animal in the garage. Not once did it show any signs of aggression or unpredictability. It was simply in need and came to our doorstep asking for help. It was my own imagination and fears that hindered me from giving aid to this animal. Then I imagined that god was testing me; that a deity came to me in the form of this dog, asked for help and I had denied this being in need. Then logically I realized that this was most likely not the case however a lesson had been learned. I know now not to let my own fears obscure reality and hinder me from helping those in need. Now when I see a being in need I imagine that it is god to gain perspective on the situation. How would my actions change if it were god and not just a dog? I do not consider myself a man of faith but this idea allows me to treat all I encounter with love and respect and keeps me from turning away those in need just because of self induced fears. This I believe…..It should not matter if it is god in need or an animal in need; I should help any being in need as I would like to be helped when I am in need.