Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lessons Learned From A Dog

Do you ever have one of those days where you just really want to hit rewind and start over? I'm sure you have. I think we all have them. Today was a doozy for me.

It all started well, everyone was on task and on schedule to start school. I was in the kitchen mopping the floor when suddenly Rachel burst in through the kitchen porch door to announce that Sasha was missing. Sasha is one of Aunt Kim's doggies, and Aunt Kim has been staying with us for the last month. Sasha is an almost 15 year old Toy Fox Terrier, and quite the little thrill-seeking adventurer. She's also nearly blind, which makes her adventures rather dangerous since she can't see where she's going and gets lost. Like she did a couple of weeks ago (and nearly gave me a heart attack) and like she did today when one of the kids let her out and forgot that a.) she's not a country dog, even though she loves being out here and b.) she's prone to taking off if she's not being watched.

So, Rachel pronounced, Sasha is gone! Last seen by the gravel mound out by the green barn, the kids went out to call her, to no avail. I was still in my comfies (sidenote: homeschool mom perk - wearing comfy pants all day if you don't have to go out - and as we all know, comfy pants are the most brilliant invention ever, bar none), so I finished the floor and headed out the door myself to look for her. Another country living bonus is that you can actually go outside in your comfies and no one's going to see you and assume you're a weirdo.

Between the kids and I (Kim was at work), we all went round and round the green barn, the white barn, the house and back again, calling for her and looking for her. Nothing. No sign of her anywhere. Assuming she made it through the cornfield and toward the highway like last time, I knew I was going to have to get dressed and head out on the highway (no, I wasn't humming Born To Be Wild) to look for her. So I get dressed, finally concede that school today is a write off and tell the kids, and also tell them I'm headed to the highway and will be back when I get back. Thankfully Jessica was here so I was able to do that.

Down the driveway I go, then down the sideroad to the highway, then up the highway toward town (probably about a 5-6 mile roundtrip walk). Looking into the corn, on the highway, on the other side of the highway (where she was last time, in a neighboring farm family's playground) and calling "Sasha.... Splashers.... Flasha..." No one ever calls anyone here (including the dogs) by their right name, so it made sense to call out for her by the names she's used to hearing. Anyone seeing me peering into the cornfield from the side of the highway, calling "Flashers!" might have surely called the nice people in the white coats. That would have been nice, they could have helped look for her.

At any rate, I couldn't find her. So I head back down the highway to our sideroad still calling her all the way, and silently praying that God would be merciful and take care of her. She's old and blind and a monumental nervous nellie, and those big old trucks go really fast on that highway. The more I thought about that the closer I got to tears welling up in my eyes for poor Splasha LollyGirl. I had to quit thinking that way and just walked and called out for her.

Still no sign of her by the time I got back to the house, but Kim had messaged me back from work (I had to tell her Lolly was missing, as much as I didn't want to!) and said she was on her way home. We'd hop in her car and go find her as soon as she got here.

I had no sooner sat down and told the kids Sasha was still missing, when Kim called and asked for an update. No good news yet, but she was 15 minutes or so away. Just enough time for me to recover a little from that extremely long and unplanned morning walk, and pour myself a coffee.


Kim finally gets here and walks in the back door with SASHA in her arms, covered in mud! Absolutely shocked, I asked here where in the world she found her, and she said she was just standing at the end of the driveway when she pulled in. Yep, the same driveway that I had just walked down, 10-15 minutes ago.

Obviously quite relieved (all of us, Jordan was crying at this point, along with Kim), the big adventure was over and Sasha was home and about to get a bubble bath.

So it was a day of no formal lessons for anyone, but a day of learning nevertheless. Especially after Sasha's Big Adventure two weeks ago, the kids were all informed how important it was to not let her out without proper supervision. Well, one of them dropped the ball today and disobeyed, which caused a chain reaction of grief and worry and interruption of the entire day. I didn't want to focus on the one who made the mistake, but I certainly did want to point out that this is exactly the same affect that willful disobedience to God has. One person's mistake today affected everyone in our house, Aunt Kim, Grandma (who was also worrying along with us) and even Aunt Kim's supervisor at work who had to give her permission to leave work early.

When one person sins it grieves not only people around them but also grieves our Lord. It can interrupt and affect other people's lives and by extension even more people's lives and plans, and it will cause worry and fear and all kinds of general heartache. All because 1 person made 1 decision to do things their way, instead of God's way. It was a hard lesson for the kids to see in action today (and would have been even harder if God had not been merciful on one of His creatures and Sasha had met the business end of a vehicle on the highway), but at the end of it all, I'm glad they did see it in action. While there are certainly much harder lessons in life that have a significant spiritual application, I'm just glad this one ended the way it did.

God once used a donkey to get His word across. Today, in a bit of a different way, He used a Toy Fox Terrier.

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