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Nancy Kennedy

Grace Notes

Recently, I became email friends with two sisters in California, Jessica and Erica, who are readers of my books and column.

They both encourage me greatly.

Last week, a dog bit Erica and she ended up in the hospital.

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When I was 9, a Basset Hound ripped a whole in my face, from the edge of my mouth to my chin.

It’s been 57 years, and I still remember and I’m still afraid of dogs.

When Erica emailed me about her dog bite incident, the reporter in me wanted to hear more, so while she was still in the hospital, she emailed me her story.

She had gone to visit a friend she hadn’t seen in a while, and when she arrived at the friend’s house, she ignored the clearly marked “Beware of the Dog” sign on the gate, because, she said, she had known her friend’s friendly, lovable dog for 12 years.

However, she hadn’t met the new, very large Belgian Malinois puppy with very sharp teeth.

Erica described him as full-on raw power with a mission to protect his turf.

When she saw him running toward her, as she turned to exit the gate the dog latched onto her leg, biting off a chunk of it.

While her friend tried to stop the bleeding, Erica called her husband who came and drove her to the ER.

“The whole way there, I kept asking God, ‘What is the lesson I’m supposed to be learning about this?’ He just kept saying, ‘Look up,’” Erica said.

She said she and her husband had been estranged, but there he was, showing loving care to her.

“If that was the lesson, I’m OK with that,” she said.

Next, a doctor told Erica about the time she was chased by a dog and was so terrified she almost climbed a tree.

“She said she had never told anyone that before and it felt really good to say it out loud, because she’s still afraid of dogs,” Erica said. “And I thought, ‘OK, Lord, if I got hurt so she could have a moment of healing from the trauma she didn’t know she had, I’m OK with that, too.”

Then a nurse told Erica about being nervous about some things her adult daughter was going through, and Erica talked to her about praying for her daughter and trusting God.

“And I said, ‘OK, Lord, if all this happened so that a mother could learn to pray for her daughter, I’m OK with that, too,’” she said.

Another nurse remarked about how graciously Erica was handling her situation, how she wasn’t threatening to sue her friend or stone the dog.

The nurse told her his Husky keeps digging up his wife’s garden, which makes her mad.

Erica suggested that the dog probably needs attention, and maybe his wife does, too.

“He admitted he works a lot and said he would go home and take the dog for more walks and ‘I guess talk to my wife more, too.’ I told him, ‘A little goes a long way,” she said. “And if I had to go through all of that injury and surgery to possibly help another woman feel loved by her husband, I’m OK with that too.”

Erica added that despite the pain in her leg, she has a grateful heart and felt loved.

Sometimes bad stuff happens and we don’t know why or its purpose.

I don’t know why that Basset Hound bit me, but I do know I’ve never since put my face near a dog’s mouth.

This I also know: Even when bad things happen, God is still good. Even if he doesn’t rush in and fix everything, even if it never gets fixed this side of eternity, he is still good and will go with me through the flood and the fire and will give me the grace and strength I will need every step of the way.

I know that he is never surprised and always faithful.

And I’m OK with that.

Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria — I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing” and “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.

Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or nkennedy@chronicleonline.com. Read more of Nancy's stories at tinyurl.com/yxt69grh

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