Under Attack!

The yelps and barks from the side yard startled me, and the dish I'd been washing dropped into the sink. I peered out the window in time to see a Honduran woman on the other side of our chain link side fence stoop down, grab a rock, and hurl it at Roxy, our two year-old Rottweiler. Drying my hands on my apron, I flew out the side door and called out, "Stop throwing rocks! She can't hurt you!" The fact that our guard dog couldn't possibly leap over the seven-foot fence seemed to have escaped the woman, who continued to hurl rocks as fast as she could grab them. Roxy dodged the rocks and continued to bark furiously.

I grabbed Roxy by the collar and tried to no avail to drag her away from the fence. "Lady! Stop throwing rocks! She's not doing anything to you!" Now the rocks started coming in my direction!

Robbie had been collecting fruit from the cashew tree in the back yard. Hearing the commotion, he started walking toward the fence. He was surprised to see his apron-clad wife yelling at a small woman, chasing the dog in circles, and dodging rocks right and left. My attacker had not slowed in the least. As she continued to hurl rocks, the grimy dress she was wearing began to creep down to her waist. Robbie was almost doubled over laughing at the sight of me being pummeled by a half-naked, angry woman. He heard me yell, "Stop throwing rocks! And, good grief, pull your DRESS up!"

He helped me drag Roxy to the other side of the yard, and admonished me, "Chris, she's not all there, babe."

"What do you mean?" I looked a little more closely at my attacker. I felt my face grow hot as reality sank in. I had been yelling at a mentally challenged person. The poor woman had probably been frightened to death by our dog's barks and hadn't realized Roxy couldn't get to her. She obviously didn't understand what was going on at all. I had seen her as the aggressor and instantly made the situation worse by yelling. I ran to her to calm her down and apologize for my behavior.

Unfortunately, this isn't the only time I've been guilty of misjudging a person. Many times I focus on the rocks being hurled at me, failing to look beyond them at the hurt, the fear, the misunderstanding on the other side of the fence. I take things personally, I jump to conclusions, I preach my opinion. How many times have I stopped to ask questions? To try to see the situation from another's point of view? To show compassion?

I've got learn to shut my mouth and look past the rocks.

Much learning does not teach understanding. -Heraclitus
4 Responses
  1. Kathy Says:

    Wow! Such honesty and vulnerability, Chris. We all tend to see (and throw!) rocks. Jesus gave us a clear message with the woman caught in adultery because we're so prone to judge quickly and misjudge often. Thank you for sharing your heart. Good blog.

  2. Ricky Says:

    Did you know that I once played Ernest T. Bass in a skit at our church many years ago? Hey, the "mentally challenged" part may be in the Tippett genes, too.

  3. Gwen Says:

    Me too! I catch myself doing the same thing!

  4. Kimberly Grainger Says:

    Ouch! Been there, cous'. I've gotta agree w/UR, too: we're the "mentally challenged" ones, sometimes!

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