I am so blessed to have grown up knowing the companionship of a dog. In our home, there was always a dog (or two) under foot. We’ve fostered dogs, took a free puppy that was being given away in front of the local department store, and brought home countless rescues, although back then they were “pound puppies.” No matter their name, they had a good home and were deeply, deeply loved. It could have been different though. When my father was very young, one afternoon he walked home from school. He saw a well-known neighborhood dog and went to pet it, only to have it bite his face. The dog bit right through his cheek and even took out a tooth. From that day on, my dad had two scars along his cheek. But he healed from the experience – both physically and mentally – because he never lost his love for those precious animals. Not even that traumatic attack kept him away from “man’s best friend.”
Now that Lent is upon us, I am ready to make it a good one. So I have my books to read, my devotions to pray, etc… But last night after attending Stations of the Cross, I was filled with thoughts of Jesus’ suffering then, and our own suffering now. I thought – where in nature could I find what my heart was feeling? And I had my answer: The Badlands.
A few years ago, Tom and I were blessed to be able to visit South Dakota. We packed up the car and drove to Rapid City where we spent a week enjoying that beautiful part of the country. We stopped at Badlands National Park and thoroughly enjoyed it. In some places, the land was so rocky and dry I felt like I was walking on the moon. In other areas there was a bit of grass poking out here and there, before the landscape would change again to fields of grass with bison and prairie dogs. It was truly an awe-inspiring place.