I was walking down the lane having been at a house for a post-funeral gathering.
The people were lovely: gentle and kind family and friends of a man who had lived a long and very fulfilled life. The funeral had been an occasion of thanksgiving for a good man.
It was a fine and sunny December day and I felt happy as I walked towards home.
Suddenly, as I passed a house a dog began barking at me viciously from a garden. It was clear that it was safely contained behind a high wall and gates; but for a moment there was panic in my heart.
It was not that I was afraid of the dog, more that it was a throwback to childhood days. Entirely lacking in self-confidence, even walking down a public road I would have panicked if someone’s dog had barked at me. I would have been afraid of disturbing the owners of the dog, afraid of having caused them inconvenience.
(If anyone has seen the film “National Lampoon European Vacation”, I am like the English guy who is knocked off his bicycle in country after country by the same American family and each time apologises to them for being in their way.)
I was reflecting on my reaction, deep within my psyche I must still have the lack of confidence, the low self-esteem. The words from Sir John Stainer’s “Crucifixion” came to mind “For God so loved the world . . .”
I can walk down the lane unafraid of barking dogs, not because of any intrinsic worth, but because I matter enough to God that he sends his Son.