Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Wages of Sin is Death

I had a dream a couple of nights ago which was odd and disturbing. In it I was with someone else, can't remember who, and we were both scared. I guess we had killed someone several years earlier by accident but had been so afraid of getting in trouble that we hid the body in a wall, I think. Now someone was doing something to the building and would soon discover the body. We wished so hard that we could go back and undo things that we actually did. We relived the accident and pulled the girl free from whatever it was that killed her the first time and things were ok then. I woke from this dream with a horrible, overwhelming feeling of guilt and shame. I thought the dream must be a representation of something that I did and could never make right, but I have yet to figure out what. I never killed anyone but it does bring to the forefront of my thoughts one of the things I am most shamed by.

When I was growing up in the country I went hunting quite a bit so shooting animals was something I did as often as I could, with a lot of enjoyment. One day a stray dog showed up at the house. People from town often brought their dogs out to the country when they got tired of them and just dropped them off so there were often dogs running around. They could become a real nuisance and a real danger because they tended to run in packs and could kill a lot of sheep or other livestock, and we had to destroy a few of them because they became mean. The dog that showed up this day was a little playful thing, not a puppy but not an old dog either. It must have been kept in a house because it always tried to get in and we'd have to shoo it out. After a few days of it hanging around and wanting fed and everyone complaining about it I decided to get rid of it. I went to the woods and it eagerly followed me, as it saw me as its new master, evidently. When I was at the top of the hill I stepped about thirty feet away from it, took my .22 rifle, sighted it on the dog's chest and fired. The shot only wounded it badly and it yelped and howled limping toward me as if to say "master I'm hurt, please help me!". The trusting, seeking look in its eyes as it made its way closer to me was something I had never seen and was unprepared for. Right then was when I realized that this animal had a soul, something I hadn't thought of before, I guess. The only thing I could do was to put him out of his misery, as he would die slowly otherwise. That second shot was much harder to take than the first, and would forever change the way I thought about killing something.

From that moment on I was plagued with guilt and shame and a feeling that sometimes when you do things there is no way to undo them, like I did in that dream. I was a teenager back then, and maybe I can be forgiven because of that fact, but looking in those pleading eyes as I pulled the trigger is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.


Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Beautiful, sad story. Guilt is a terrible feeling. My dad had to shoot one of our dogs because it was sick and we didn't have the money to put it down. I think everything can be forgiven, especially (I hope) the things we do as teenagers!

5:28 PM  

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