I was out for a brisk morning walk enjoying the crisp winter air. The route I was taking went by a house where three dogs live. The dogs have a fenced-in yard, but the yard is also surrounded by signs that say “Beware of Dogs”. When I walked by this house in the past, if the dogs were out they barked aggressively and jumped against their fence. On many mornings I had chosen a different route for my walk because the dogs’ noisy show often made me uncomfortable. On this particular morning I had decided to walk that way because I didn’t think the dogs would be outside at that time of day.
However, before I could even see them, they knew I was coming and began their racket. So I began praying. I thought of something that Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which says, “All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible.” (SH 514:28-30). It calmed me to think of these dogs as God’s creatures. I began to love them and became less alarmed. I thought of them as doing their assigned job, protecting their owner’s house.
When I rounded the corner to where I could see them, I noticed that they had knocked down one section of their fence. One of the dogs was outside the fence, one was still inside the fence, and one was nowhere to be seen. I asked myself, “What am I going to believe? – the mortal testimony, the sign that says they are dangerous dogs that I need to beware of? – or the spiritual truth, that dogs are the creation of divine Love acting under the governance of divine Principle? It was a pivotal moment for me.
I chose to see them as God’s creation, as harmless and useful. I walked calmly by. The dogs, though they continued to bark and jump, never moved from where they were. I was safe; they were safe. I will never be afraid of those dogs again, because now I see them for who they really are.
It’s so important for us to ask ourselves daily, moment by moment, “What am I going to believe? – the mortal testimony that I must beware, fear, and avoid? – or the spiritual truth of God’s protection, power, and trustworthy love?
Though it’s wise to respect warning signs, which are placed for a valid purpose, if we find ourselves inadvertently in an area of marked danger, we can take comfort in knowing that we are centered in divine Love’s care because our good intentions are protected by divine Principle.