Why Am I This Way?

Stella sticks her tongue out between her stubby teeth, bracketed  by two bottom fangs set into her famous bulldog underbite, features bred into her, bred into all bulldogs by humans. She descends from ancient herding dogs that were bred with short muzzles and a tenacious spirit  so that her kind could fight bulls, grab and hold onto them by the nose, and torque them to the ground to win money for their owners. Or die in the process.

The old days of bullbaiting with dogs are gone (hopefully). Thank God. But the breeding man did to achieve victory in those wagered battles lingers in the faces of bulldogs. I have heard people call the dogs gargoyles without understanding how they came to look that way.

Stella would be highly insulted if she heard herself called a monster. I am not a monster. I don’t care what I look like. By the way, what do I look like? There aren’t enough mirrors around here.

When she rolls over onto her back, her jowls flop open, ruffling with each breath as air hisses through her teeth. When she sits upright again, her face gravitates downward, falling into its hangdog place. Bulldogs and their perpetually worried expressions. I have one, too, and I was not bred to fight bulls. So many people have said to me over the years, “Oh, it can’t be that bad!” simply after looking at my face. (There aren’t enough mirrors around here, are there?)

So why are we the way we are? We ask that question when we are unhappy with ourselves, when we are dissatisfied, when there is a trait we want to change.

God grants gifts, and we face the pesky choices of how we are going to use those gifts. We make right choices. We make wrong choices. We and others may suffer for those wrong choices. And the bulldogs? They abide by the sentence carried in their genes and still get to make a few choices of their own along the way. Just watch their gentleness sometime. No more fighting, except among themselves. How sad. How human.

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…” Ecclesiastes 3:11 KJV


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