Several weeks have passed since our last posting – a time in which some important things have been learned by the authors. These lessons in discernment came (as they often do) disguised in mundane, seemingly ordinary events.
Let me digress a bit….animals have been a part of our lives for the 36 years we’ve been married….Katrina, Kaiser, Karmel, Caleb, Cody, Indy and Keillor make up the canine list; add to that several cats (including Isaac, who passed away a few weeks ago at age 19); an occasional rescued bird (or baby duck), a litter of puppies rescued and bottle-fed, assorted fish and a rabbit…..and the final addition of Tess, our beautiful Quarter Horse mare. Over the years we’ve gathered confidence in our ability to handle and care for animals; at one point our GSHP Kaiser earned enough points showing in obedience trials to be ranked in the country’s top ten.
Enter “May” – a ‘steal your heart away with one look’ little six-month-old pointer/lab mix looking longingly out from the bars of her cage at an “animal adoption” event two weeks ago. We often stop in at these, but usually just “ooh” and “aah” over the critters and then wave goodbye. This time, we got hooked. Thinking we were quite experienced at this sort of thing, and that our current dog had gotten along decently with our 19 year old cat (meaning without seriously damaging him), we jumped at adopting “May” into our household.
It was a disaster.
It soon became clear that the two dogs were never going to get along. The feelings of failure began to escalate quickly – compounded by stressful, short nights of sleep to let the puppy out (it was so long ago when we had an infant!), and the constant logistics of moving cages around to keep the dogs separated (she could scale a baby gate in 30 seconds). Less than a week passed and we knew that it was in everyone’s best interest to get “May” back into the hands of the pet adoption agency where they could find her a good, single dog home.
What did we learn? For one thing, it revealed that we count on our home being a sanctuary where we can “detox” from the stresses of life. We relish and require the quiet that provides opportunities for study, conversation and laughter. We also learned, once again, how to discern the best. This adventure started out with all the right intentions and was a ‘good’ thing. But only by going through it and being trained by it did we discover the best for us.
In the series pastor Doug is preaching on Hebrews he recently preached on Chapter 5, verses 11-14. The lesson of that passage played out in our lives through a little puppy named “May.” Spiritual growth is not about figuring it all out ahead of time so that you can make sure to get it “right” at the start. It is a training process where we learn to see the best- to “distinguish good from evil” – as we consciously attempt to live out God’s Word each moment. Training means attempting good things and coming up short, but trying none the less because it stretches us. It means being willing to do a good thing, and then having the willingness to let go of that for the best thing.
We are sure that “May” has found a good home. And, we are sure that God has taught us a couple important lessons through her and the short time she was with us.