Thursday, December 10, 2011
Snow day. I love snow days! Well, I love the “hot-chocolate, popcorn and a movie, cuddled up under a blanket while the wind howls outside” part of snow days…I don’t like the “shovel the driveway and salt the walk in while the blizzard blows snow down your neck” part of snow days.
On this particular snow day, Aaron (my husband) had braved the snow-packed roads to run to the nearby Walgreens and see what movies were left in the Red Box. I was catching up on some housework so I could settle in for movie time without laundry and dishes on my mind; mid-dishes, I glanced over at my phone and saw that I had missed a call from him. I called back, expecting to hear that the movie we wanted was unavailable due to a snow day movie rush, and to be asked “what did I want to watch instead?” I was wrong.
Ring, Ring. The call connects.
“Hey, sorry I missed your call.”
“I found a dog.”
“I was waiting for someone to finish renting a movie, and a couple of guys in another car pulled up and asked the girl ahead of me if this dog was her dog…I looked over and there was a little dog, shivering in the cold. It didn’t belong to her, and I went over and almost got it to come to me, and then it got scared and ran and hid behind the light pole to get out of the wind…I approached again, and this time it let me pick it up. I couldn’t just leave it there. It is going to be -15 degrees tonight.”
“Well, I am almost home. I want you to see it.”
I could smell it before I could see it. As soon as he opened the back door and stepped inside, the scent washed over the room; the smell of neglect and filth. It was a little dog, with long light brown and white fur. The mats around its face obscured its eyes. It was cold, scared, and miserable.
We took it over to a local shelter; on the way, the little dog cowered in the backseat behind a bucket of salt that Aaron had picked up at the local hardware store. We parked on the wrong street, the signs were obscured by the driving snow. I took a deep breath, and scooped the little dog into my arms for the two-block walk to the shelter. Once inside, it became apparent that the dog had adopted Aaron as her protector. She hid behind his legs and let everyone know she was not interested in our help…until the staff enticed her away from him with food. This lost dog was hungry.
No tag, no chip, no one had called asking about a missing little brown and white dog.
Me: “Now what?”
Staff at the shelter: “We are closing in 5 minutes due to the blizzard and not able to take her in at this point.”
Me: “Well, I guess then she comes home with us. But not without a good washing.”
I called our local PetSmart and explained our situation. Graciously, they allowed us to bring in this little lost dog…who really needed a bath. The grooming staff quickly ascertained that not only was this little dog filthy, she was infested with fleas, and worst of all, her fur was so matted on her legs that she would no longer move them freely.
There was no solution other than shaving her down.
The shaving process was tedious and the little dog DID NOT enjoy it. As I watched through the window, I found myself wishing I could let her know that this was the best possible thing that could be happening to her, no matter how scary it seemed. This was the best day in this little dog’s recent life–she was in the care of loving people who were going to great lengths to bring her back to health…and yet, she was miserable.
And it hit me. People are the same way. We often mis-interpret things that are actually for our good as bad things. We hate confrontation. We detest the pain of growth. We actually seem to prefer the “kiss of an enemy” to the “wound of a friend.” God moves in our life to remove things that are harmful to us (attitudes, beliefs, relationships, vices) and we react like we are being attacked rather than helped.
Malachi 3:3 says that God “will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver” in our lives. There are times we will be “in the fire,” but God is doing something GOOD in our lives! We need to be still and know that He is God (in control), that He is good (not out to harm us), and that His plans are perfect (He doesn’t make mistakes or get taken by surprise).
After the little dog was flea-less, clean, and free from the restricting mats, she settled down. I bought her a sweater and named her Lola. We found her a loving home, and her story has a good ending. Ours can too, if we allow God to go to work in our lives and set us free from harmful things, even if the process is painful. The next time you are sure it is the worst day of your life…step back and invite God into the middle of what you are going through. He makes all things good!