Thursday, September 22, 2011

Forgiveness

A few days ago, the Beast and I were involved in a rousing game of fetch in the neighbourhood park when a man and his dog - a beautiful Rottweiler - came along. We'd seen them once or twice before, but the Rottie was the nervous sort, and didn't really engage in play with the always-energetic-and-sometimes-too-pushy Beast. So on we went with our game of fetch.

A few minutes later, the gentlemen approached me and said, "I think I just made a connection."

Um, huh?

He must have seen my puzzled look, and proceeded to ask me if (a) I have a husband/partner (b) who bikes down the path alongside the river with my dog. I told him that yes indeed, my husband does take him out biking every now and then. Perhaps he had seen them when he was out walking his own dog?

"Well, sort of," he said. "Did your husband tell you about a bike accident, by any chance?"

And then the light went on for me. So this was the guy who was walking his dog, who lunged at my dog, who went flying into the back tire of my husband's bike, which led to two weeks of cone-induced recovery, which led to (I must admit) a little bit (okay, a whole freaking lot) of resentment on the part of hubby and myself against this mystery dog and his mystery owner, both of whom were now standing here in front of me.

But I didn't have time to feel much anger or much resentment. Partly because he was clearly very upset. As he recounted the entire story of the accident in vivid detail, his voice was actually shaking a little. He told me that he had been so worried for the past few weeks that our dog had been seriously injured, especially since he hadn't seen us around the park for a while (the accident has now happened over a month and a half ago...). And he apologized profusely for his dog's behaviour, explaining that his Rottie is nervous and fearful and must have been caught off guard by both a bike and a dog running beside him.

But the real reason my anger quickly dissipated is because of the Beast, who I had spotted out of the corner of my eye, engaged in play bowing, wrestling, and chasing with the Rottie. Both dogs were having a blast, playing nicely with one another, panting and smiling as they galloped through the trees and over the small hill in the middle of the park.

And it hit me. Why should I be angry at this poor guy and his dog, when the being who was the most wronged by the whole accident, the Beast, had clearly forgiven the Rottie for scaring the shit out of him and causing him to go ass-backwards into the rear wheel of a bike? He was far more interested in living in the moment than in the past, and could see no reason in holding a grudge against a dog that was clearly satisfying his immediate need to play and be chased. If he could overlook the fact that this Rottweiler had sent him into cone-induced-exile for two weeks, why couldn't hubby and I?

So although I had always imagined that I would have very choice and colourful words for the owner of the dog who caused my Beast's accident, I just couldn't bring myself to say one harsh word. Instead, I reassured him that the Beast had sustained no more than a minor scrape and that he was back to being his usual crazy self. "They're dogs," I said. "It's not like your guy did it on purpose, so please don't worry about it, and I hope we see you around sometime."

And I slipped the Beast's leash back on and went home.

When we got there, hubby was puttering around the kitchen. I told him that I had met the dog who lunged at he and the Beast while they were out biking, and my husband's back stiffened a little. I told him to relax, and told him that the Beast had just spent 10 minutes or so running around and having fun with this dog. If he had gotten over whatever happened between them, so could we.

So there he goes again... The Beast is teaching me yet another lesson...

I think of all the grudges - big and small - that I have bore for people over the years. Like the fact that I still hold it over my sister's head that she ruined my absolute favourite pair of shoes in high school, after I had saved up all of my babysitting money to buy them. Or how I like to point out to my best friend that she once called me a "fat bitch" in university. Or how, even though he and I have since become friends, I still haven't quite forgiven this one guy for the way that he lamely ended our relationship over the telephone instead of in person...

And what's the point in harbouring all of this resentment? Has it brought me anything?

Absolutely not.

Perhaps I should just call all of these people whom I have not yet forgiven for their indiscretions and ask them if they want to come over and play fetch with me in my neighbourhood park... Certainly, it's way more fun that holding onto all this resentment...