Creekside Church
Sermon of August 16, 2020

"Going to the Dogs - a Monologue"
Matthew 15:21-28

Rosanna McFadden


I don’t know if I can face a bunch of church people. You all sittin there with your neat lives, lookin down on other people who ain’t got it so good. Let me tell you, my life hasn’t always been the way it is now. I had a good life: a husband and a house and enough money to live on. Things don’t always work out the way we think they’re gonna.

I did things the way you’re supposed to: I got married, my husband worked as a long-haul trucker and I got a job at a factory nearby. I worked through my pregnancy -- we knew this would be our only child, and we wanted to provide everything we could for her. Sissy was the best thing that ever happened to us. Cute as a button, smart, never met a stranger. When she was five years old, we got her a puppy -- a yellow lab. She called him Sonny, and they were buddies from the start. They’d run around and around inside the house until I sent them outside, then they’d run around and around outside until I called them in for supper. Sissy would be tuckered out she could hardly stay awake through supper. I knew she slipped Sonny food offa her plate, but I never said nothing. She loved that dog. By the time I got the dishes done I’d find them curled up sound asleep together in front of the TV. We’d have to carry Sissy upstairs and she’d never even wake up. Those were the good times.

It happened the first time when Sissy was eight. I woke up in the middle of the night cause she was screamin that something was after her; it was gonna kill her. There wasn’t nothing in her room -- I figured it was a nightmare -- but it took her a long time to get back to sleep. When it happened again two months later, I figured she just had an over-active imagination. A month later when she had another spell, I didn’t get back to sleep that night. We were all on edge, wondering when we’d get woken up again. But the next time it happened wasn’t a night -- she was at school. Of course, I got a call at work and went over right away, and talked to the school nurse and made an appointment with a doctor. Over the next year we went to a lotta of doctors and spent a whole lotta money, but it didn’t do no good: she still had spells when she was screamin that something was trying to kill her; no one could figure it out. Course, she couldn’t keep goin to school. I coulda helped her with the work she missed, but after the second time . . . well, you know how kids are about things they don’t understand. They were just hateful, and . . . and I just couldn’t send her back there.

My husband was drivin a lot -- I was the one to take Sissy to all those doctors. I finally missed enough work that they let me go. My husband, he wasn’t a bad man, but he just couldn’t handle what was goin on. We never really fought about it, he just left on a run one day and didn’t come back. Didn’t even call Sissy after that. When I couldn’t keep up on the house payments no more we took Sonny and moved in with my mom. That didn’t work out too good. So in the spring, we moved in with my sister and her kids, and that didn’t work out so good either. Between Sissy wakin up screamin and worrying about when it was gonna happen next, didn’t none of us get much sleep. We lived outta my car for a while, but that was hard -- especially with Sonny. We couldn’t hardly feed ourselves, let alone a full-grown dog. When we finally moved into the shelter, we had to give Sonny away. They don’t let no dogs in shelters. I can’t hardly talk about it. I thought Sissy was gonna go crazy cryin and carryin on when she had to say good bye to Sonny.

We’d been in the shelter a couple weeks -- Sissy wasn’t doin any better, every night I was trying to keep her from having those dreams, but she couldn’t hardly sleep; she was clenched up all the time. I didn’t know what we were gonna do. And then one of the women told me about a preacher -- a preacher who healed people. He was comin to our town the next week. Of course, not to our side of town -- nobody came there -- but maybe close enough that I could see him. I figured, what do I got to lose? I tried everything else and nothin worked -- why not? I didn’t know if you gotta have insurance to go to a healer, but I woulda done anything, anything if I thought it could help Sissy. Only trouble was, I didn’t have a car no more, and it was a pretty long way. I’d gotten careful about goin out in public with Sissy, in case something happened, but I guess we’d have to risk it.

When that day came, I knew Sissy couldn’t make it. She’d been kinda screamin and thrashin around, all clenched up, and I knew I couldn’t take her on the bus. I decided I had to go and take my chances, no matter what. I left Sissy with a friend at the shelter, and I went by myself. There was a big crowd there at the church -- big fancy church. It was clear full when I got there; I couldn’t even get inside the door. I tried to press up to where the healer was, but I couldn’t get close enough. I didn’t come that far to turn around and go home. I started hollering, “Healer, help me! My daughter is sick. She’s got terrible nightmares that won’t stop!” some people told me to shush, but I wouldn’t shush. I kept hollerin “Healer, help me! My daughter needs help!” Some men came over and told me I had to leave. I said, “I ain’t leavin til I see the Healer. My daughter needs help.” Finally, they let me get up to where the Healer was. He took one look at me and said, “I didn’t come to help people like you.” Like me? What did he mean? What are people like me? I said, “Please, my daughter needs help.”

And he looked me right in the eye and said, “It isn’t right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” And he started to turn away. Dogs? Had he just called me and Sissy dogs? Like we were some kind of animals? I then I thought of Sonny. How much we loved him, how he was part of our family -- maybe even the best part of our family; how happy Sissy was when she was with him. And I stood up straight and I looked right at the Healer and I said, “Sir, even the dogs can eat the scraps that fall from the table.” And he stopped and turned around and looked at me; like maybe he was seein something he hadn’t noticed before. And I just looked right back at him. After a bit he smiled and said, “You have great faith. It will be as you have asked: your daughter is healed.” Well, I couldn’t wait to get back to see what happened to Sissy; I pretty much ran the whole way back to the shelter and up to the room where my friend was with her. Sissy was asleep. Only not like she had been sleepin, all clenched up and thrashing around, but really asleep. Relaxed and peaceful; the way she used to fall asleep with Sonny.

That was a coupla weeks ago. Sissy hasn’t had any of her spells since then. Me and Sissy kinda feel like we got our lives back. I got Sissy signed up for school again and I think I’ve got a job lined up. We’re gonna be able to move out of the shelter pretty soon, and I promised Sissy that the first thing we’re gonna do when we get settled is go the animal shelter and get us a dog. I don’t know what happened to the Healer after I saw him. I figgered he wouldn’t listen to me, that I was the wrong kind of people, but he heard me. He looked at me. He changed our lives. Things don’t always work out the way we think they’re gonna. Thanks for listenin to me.


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