A Pig Pen and a White Dog
I stood next to the window of our hotel room in Cagliari, Sardegna, Italy and looked out at the field on the opposite side of the road in front of the hotel. I could see a pig pen with an attached shelter. I was interested in it because it is the only place in Italy where I have seen a pig before. They eat so much pork (swino) that it surprises me I haven’t seen more hogs. We had stayed in this same room once before and I remembered seeing the big pig that lived there. Today I could see the big pig and another medium sized pig. A few minutes later two more medium sized pigs came out of the shelter and joined the other pig. A short time later a baby pig wandered out and pretty soon twelve little baby pigs were playing near their mother. Three white dogs were in the pen keeping watch over all of them.
At this point, my eyes started to wander and I noticed a few sheep were next to the left side of the pig pen. It appeared they had just had their wool sheared off. Pretty soon I noticed a tree on the right side of the pen with some men under it. They were using shears to remove the wool from the sheep. Next to them was a crowded corral with more sheep waiting their turn to have their wool sheared. As soon as the wool was sheared off, the sheep would jump up and run to the other side of the pen.
My eyes drifted a little to the north of the pig pen and I could see a Shanty Town with a few humble dwellings and a group of children kicking a ball and two brown puppies chasing after it.
Another busy road was on the other side. I was certain no one on either road could see what was happening in the field next to them. They probably wouldn’t have cared even if they could see. The pigs were oblivious to the sheep and the sheep were oblivious to the children playing.
From my vantage point several stories up in a hotel room, I could see everything that was going on.
One of the white dogs actually turned out not to be a big dog, but a young dog who was full of energy. I watched as he playfully attacked one of the baby pigs and then laid down a short ways away to watch what the pig would do. The little pig eyed the dog for a minute and then ran over and nudged it with his snout and started to run away. The dog ran after him, knocked him down, and then laid down again. The baby pig stared at him for a minute and then ran over and nudged him with his snout again. It reminded me very much of my own children when they were young.
I saw some movement on the left side of the pen and glanced over just in time to see that two of the baby pigs had found a hole in the shelter and had escaped into the field. Soon they were joined by some of the other baby pigs. They were wandering in the field where it wasn’t very safe. The children were playing a short distance from them and undoubtedly would have thought it great fun to chase the baby pigs and try to catch them. I then saw that one of the white dogs had noticed the escape and had followed them. He was sitting nearby in the tall grass watching over them. He was protecting them. The mother pig seemed unaware some of her babies were missing. At least four of the baby pigs were still close by and the energetic little dog and the feisty baby pig were still chasing each other.
It wasn’t too long before all but two of the baby pigs wandered back along the path they had followed, found their way back into the pig pen, and were united with their mother. They were happily nursing as if nothing had happened. But two of the baby pigs had continued to wander off and were still in the tall grass at the far end of the pig pen and were getting close to the road.
From my vantage point high in the hotel, I could see everything that was going on. I knew the two baby pigs who had wandered away were in a precarious position but were unaware of the potential danger. I could also see the white dog was still following them and was actually trying to get the lost little pigs to follow him so he could lead them back to safety.
That was a defining moment for me. I understood how a loving Father in Heaven watches out for His children. He always knows what we need and sends help when we need it. Whether or not we accept the help is our choice, but the help is there. Just as the little pigs had to climb back up the embankment to get on the right path, we have to overcome self-imposed challenges and difficulties to get on the right path, too. He wants us to be safe and happy.
We have a Father in Heaven who sees the whole picture. He is aware, not only of the pigs who were lost, but the sheep who needed to have their wool removed so they would be more comfortable during the summer months and other people would be warm during the winter months. He was aware of the children who were living in poverty. Maybe it was their fathers who were given work shearing sheep so they could earn money to provide for their children.
People speeding by in their cars didn’t know what was going on and were unaware of all the activity in the field next to them, but I could see the big picture. I saw the danger the baby pigs were in and I saw the white dog who was watching over them. I likened the experience to missionary life. The missionaries might be half a world away from their families, but Heavenly Father knows where they are and He is watching over them. He knows just what they need and He helps them, if they will just follow Him. Some of the missionaries might have been sent to Italy just to help someone who is lost find their way. They might each be someone’s white dog.
The experience wasn’t really like Lehi’s Dream, but it was certainly one of Sorella Waddoups’ Insights.
It is my testimony that God is aware of us. He knows our needs and our wants. He hears our prayers and always answers them. The answer isn’t always the answer we want, but it is the answer that is best for us. It doesn’t matter where we are because He always watches over us and when necessary sends a white dog to protect us.
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|View from the hotel window|
|Mamma Pig with some of the baby pigs|
|Family of Pigs|
|Sheep that have been sheared|
|Dog watching over pigs|
|Wandering baby pigs with white dog|
|Baby pig getting close to raod|
|Dogs watching over pigs|
|Dog trying to lead baby pigs back inside pig pen|
|All is calm in the field and dusk is approaching|