Puppies between 8-10 weeks old that have not been properly introduced to the world can grow up to be nervous and fearful. When you bring a dog home from a breeder or adopt one from a shelter, you never really know what happened during this “fear period” that may affect their behavior.
My dog, Dominique Decoco, was very fearful when she came to us at 5 months old, especially of other dogs. With a lot of hard work, she has made amazing progress and today she has overcome most of her fears. But there are still a few things she dreads: fireworks, thunderstorms and worst of all—trains!
There is a wonderful off-leash park right on the beach where I occasionally like to take her. But it’s located right next to a much used railroad. We can be having a great time walking together, but once she feels the rumbling engine and the booming horn of an approaching locomotive, she abandons me and runs for her life! I want to say, “Coco, come back! It’s just a train” but she’s a dog. She doesn’t understand. And even though she’s learned to trust and follow me in every other situation, when fear like this takes over, it’s as if I don’t exist. Instead of listening to and responding to the human that knows there is nothing to worry about, she responds to her fear with absolute reckless obedience—with no thought to her personal safety. In order to escape a momentary perceived danger, one day she may unintentionally run straight into a real threat.
We live in a world where fear abounds, and for good reason. It can be a violent and scary place. But what is the answer? Are the words of Jesus enough to keep me calm when my world is being shaken and the things I dread are looming in the distance?
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you… Do not let your
hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
I suppose I take comfort in knowing that from God's perspective, I’m just like Coco. I have a fundamentally human misunderstanding of real eternal danger. My perceptions are as faulty as hers. Everything I fear sounds and feels like I must panic, and perhaps run for safety. But to Jesus, it’s just a train.