by Rachel Frugé
It was a weekday evening in 2010. Brennan and I had just left dinner and we were walking back to our loft. I carried half my dinner in a to-go container and, as is the likelihood in Deep Ellum, a man walked up to us and asked for help. I handed him my leftovers and apologized it wasn’t much but was virtually untouched.
As we continued along, another approached. A medium sized dog, a pit bull, stepped into our path. He was skinny with his backbone and ribs visible beneath his skin. He was scared but gentle. Infected dog bites littered his head. I pleaded with Brennan to let me take him home. “I’ll call for help tomorrow,” I said. Quarantined in our large bathroom, he scooted into the corner and, as I sat there patiently for some time, he slowly joined me the middle of the bathroom. He was crawling with fleas. I can’t remember if he ate that night or left his food and water untouched until morning. But, I remember during the short car ride to the vet his food found its way from his stomach to the floorboard of my car.
At the vet, we paid to have him checked and treated, asked questions about his temperament and reaction to their care. I brought him back home to recuperate. His wounds needed care, he needed to gain back some weight, and I traveled back and forth to the vet several times to have him dewormed and vaccinated. We slowly introduced him to our dogs and before we knew it, we named him Hurley and he became part of our family.
A week or so later, I was telling some friends about Hurley. A friend, who had walked in half way through the story said, “You guys took a homeless guy in off the street? You really are Jesus.” Through laughter, I explained I was in fact talking about a dog. But, over the course of the next few weeks, that misunderstanding would run through my mind again and again. And, I knew what God was saying directly to my heart, “What you did for that dog, I want you to do for the people I love.”
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. Isaiah 1:17
Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits? Jesus asked. The man replied, the one who showed him mercy. Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same. Luke 10:36
I remembered the man before Hurley. He was someone deeply loved by God. Yet all I gave to him were my leftovers. I didn’t know his name or his story.
When it came time to say goodbye to Hurley, we did so tearfully. There would be some things I would do differently given a second chance but, I would not change the time Hurley was a part of our family. And, I cannot go back to the time before God began to change my heart. Because since that time, He has continued to call me into a greater place of awareness of the needs of those around me and a stewardship of His resources.
What are the needs of the community around you? What are the resources you have to give?
Rachel leads the youth missional movement at The Vine Lutheran Church in Grapevine, Texas and as Interim Executive Director at LINC North Texas. She and her husband Brennan, their two children, and two dogs live in the home with a yellow door. Email Rachel at gro.e1566606989niveh1566606989tsieh1566606989@lehc1566606989ar1566606989.