The words, “God” and “Dog” are a semordnilap (there’s a trivia nugget for you!), which occurs when one word spells a completely different word backwards. There’s really no comparison between God and a dog, and there never could be, but a trip to Confession yesterday got me thinking.
A little background…
My pastor sometimes brings his dog with him during Confession hours on Saturdays in the church. Father’s joke never gets old, either… “The dog’s under the seal!” For those who aren’t familiar, “the seal” is the seal of Confession, whereby a priest is obliged by the severest possible consequences to keep private those things which he hears confessed by the penitent. Naturally, a dog repeating the sins of a penitent is an impossibility, but it’s still funny to hear him say it. It’s one of the endearing things about our pastor.
When the dog is there, it’s excited to see each new penitent (or I assume so since it’s always excited to see me!). It wags its tail vigorously and does all the things friendly dogs do, you know? It’s well-behaved, so it never jumps on me or anything like that, but it sure seems pumped. Inevitably, Father calls the obedient dog to his side and it lays down next to him. It almost appear as if it’s listening, with its brows moving and ears perking as I speak. The dog doesn’t judge or condemn. It doesn’t get sad or angry. The dog doesn’t lash out at me. It silently allows the confession of my sins to fall upon it and then, guess what? It’s over. Father gives me my penance and absolution, and the dog wants to say goodbye as I leave.