Welcome back, Kathleen. Thank you for being a guest blogger today.
My old neighbour, Bill Peasley, had a good friend in Australia, an archeologist who led camel and jeep expeditions into the desert. On one such expedition, an abandoned, half-wild dog skulked around their campsite, appearing and disappearing like a shadow with an identity crisis. An almost fox, almost German shepherd; scrawny, limping badly, and flea-ridden. Once upon a time the dog may have been attractive. No more. The poor creature was half-dead of starvation—almost past the point of hunger.
The members of the team, intrigued and compassionate, fed it scraps and provided water. Soon the dog didn’t slink away anymore. Its pleasant temperament was hard to ignore, and the expedition members worried about what would happen to the creature when they left the area.
Eventually the group broke camp and prepared to move on. But now they had a problem. Abandoning their new friend seemed unthinkable. Outback conditions are harsh. The dog could end up as supper for a wild dingo. It may even die of starvation and thirst.
A compassionate couple volunteered to take it home. Under their care, the dog, christened Mungilli for the claypan at which it was found, became sleek and handsome, a loyal family pet.
Bill loved that story. His friend sent before and after photos of the dog, and Bill carried them with him like a proud grandpa. He showed those photos to anyone who would stand still long enough to listen.
Every so often Bill phoned me to ask if he could come over and show me something. And each time he walked up my garden path, that particular determined look on his face and a sheet of paper in his hand, I knew what he was up to.
He always began the same way. First he unfolded the paper with copies of the two photos on it. His hand trembled slightly, and I knew he’d forgotten that I’d seen those photos often. Or maybe he knew I needed to see them again.
“Kathleen,” he always began, his eyes puddling just a tad. “I have a good friend in Australia. He sent me this.” Then he’d swallow, crinkle the corner of the paper in his hand and say some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard. “Let me show you what love can do.”
It happened every time. My throat constricted, my hand reached for the photos, and once again I’d listen to the story, told as only Bill could tell it. And I’d think of these words by John Newton: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see!”
Tiptoeing around the edges of all our cozy campsites is someone who needs redeeming love and amazing grace. Who’s skulking around yours? For God’s sake, show them what love can do.