We had two small dogs and one cat. Then we began raising puppies for The Seeing Eye and adopted the first one we raised back because she did not pass her testing. Then this cat got dropped off at our house and then and then and then…
Let me start over. We have three dogs and two cats PLUS we raise puppies for The Seeing Eye. This past weekend alone, meaning SUNDAY…we had several animal related incidents and when I say several, I mean way more than two, the worst being the Seeing Eye puppy was bit by a poisonous snake on a family hike. Long and short of it is, she’s going to recover despite the fact that her face is severely swollen due to the toxins from the bite plus she’s tired and a whole lot of sore but through it all, I’m keeping the main thing, the main thing….she’s alive.
So I crawled into bed late Sunday night grateful.
Our four year-old lab, our adopted back wonder pet, crawled under our very large king-size bed in the middle of the night and made the most gut-wrenching of all sounds and I just didn’t have the energy or the can-do to wake up and hurriedly grab her, pull her out from the pits of hell, drag her heaving body down the steps and out the front door to glisten under the moon light.
So I let it happen.
And my husband says, “Aren’t you going to do something?”
No. No I am not.
So I went back to bed.
For those of you who don’t have animals, you are thanking God at this very moment for that decision. If you are not a pet lover, you may not get why us pet owners endure the things we do for our animals, but I liken the whole thing to having kids whom you love that wet the bed, throw up in the middle of the night or destroy freshly painted walls with crayons.
Pets and kids…sometimes there’s little difference between the two.
Point being, that massively large dog who army crawled under our bed in the middle of the night is an accurate portrait of what life looks like at times. It’s during these moments, I often find myself half asleep, trying to grab the dog out from underneath the bed by its hind legs, just hoping we make it out the door before a ginormous mess occurs. I step in and deal, adjust, fix, mend, plan.
And I just can’t anymore. I’m not that great at it anyway. In fact, I kind of suck.
I’ve become increasingly aware this past year through a series of events that I often step in too quickly with my actions and/or with my words because I am afraid. Afraid to let others be responsible for their own choices. Afraid to set limits that say “This is what I am and am not going to do.” Afraid the dog’s gut-wretching sound in the middle of the night means my carpet is going to be ruined, thereby destroying the look of the home. MY house. Do you hear what I’m saying? I am afraid how YOU and your stuff will affect ME.
It’s lulled me to sleep.
And in my slumber, I’ve never fully allowed myself to BE who I was created to be so I can’t imagine extending you the honor.
Because living is messy. Pieces fall to the ground and clutter fills the floor with debris.
On my carpet. In my home.
And what if one day, on MY watch, you crawl under the bed and need help in the middle of the night…
Isn’t it my job to save you? To mend? To fix?
Will I be enough if I just stand in it WITH you, responsible TO you and not FOR you?
The other night my decline made space for my husband to get up and take care of the dog. In fact, I would have made space for ANYONE in the room if they were there. I didn’t have the expectation that he would get up and I wasn’t disappointed when he didn’t. I rested in knowing I was done for the day. If I were to become involved, it could wait.
I felt empowered and free in that chaotic moment, in the bigger picture…in my life full of uncertainties late at night with that gut-wrenching sound happening beneath my bed. It is one of the craziest of all things but it grabbed my attention enough to wake me up. I made sense out of a whole lot of life in a moment and it was holy.
Friends, let it happen. Surely the sky will not fall on your head.