I wish I could tell you that being a Christian means life is always sunshine and roses but I can’t. Sometimes it means you stalk your neighborhood in the worst stranger danger-ish way, and give the death stare to your spouse. In the most loving, Christ-like way. Of course.
we lost our dog.I mean I lost my dog. the dog that I loved and loved me most is lost by no one in particular.
It wasn’t as if someone let him out and refused to let him back in. They let him out to use the restroom and he never came back. And then they forgot. And came on to parent night at VBS. And came home. And still no dog. By the time I got home with food for the night everyone assumed that the dog was sleeping. Or napping. Not just running the neighborhood.
So when we finally head to bed (HOURS after the dog had been let out), and I went through my nightly ritual of “check to make sure our 120-yr-old-in-dog-years family member is still breathing and pet him before bed,” he just wasn’t there.
“Babe. Where’s Buckley?”
“I don’t know. Whadya mean “Where’s Buckley?’ ”
“I mean there’s no dog in this house for me to say goodnight to.”
“No way… REALLY?!”
So we dress. And go. At 11:30 at night. Driving two miles an hour with a flashlight. Looking in ditches and on porches and under things.
And there is no dog.
And yes, in the most stranger danger-ish fashion possible, we forgot the basic rules of humanity and common sense and asked two little kids whose dad was washing their truck at the car wash if they had seen our dog.
“Hey ask those kids…”
“I am NOT asking those kids…”
“Hey kids, have y’all seen a little beige dog about this big?”
“HEY!! YOU BOYS GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!!!”
And then some dad is yelling at his kids for talking to strangers at midnight while he is washing his truck. Oops. (In my defense, if you weren’t washing your car with your kids AT midnight…)
Mamas, let me tell you ALL.YOUR.KIDS. are failing stranger danger. All of em. And we probably asked 20 kids in two days’ time. No, I do not want to steal your children. I pray daily for 27 hours a day on how to handle my own; there is no way on God’s green earth that I want yours andmine.
Also… ladies, I have figured out your midnight rendezvous locations and I promise I will not tell your husbands that yall are chit chatting innocently with each other in your garages at midnight. Promise. I’ma leave you with it though, because those are prime sleeping hours for me.
So we drive on. That night, for two more hours.
And the next day for another 16, stopping only to eat at the one restaurant in town (Mexican), where I cried crocodile tears into my queso dip. I imagined him (Buckley) lost and looking for us. This deaf, blind dog who loved hot dog buns, wandering aimlessly, with no food or water in 100 degree heat, wondering why his family would leave him. I imagined him wishing to find home, if only he knew where home was.
All week was spent wondering and driving and looking.
And the death stares began.
The “I can’t believe you lost my dog” stares.
The stink-eyes. You know. As if the lasers from my eyes were burning a hole right through the hubs’ eyes, down his throat, and into his soul. (In the most Christ-like way possible. Of course. Bless his heart.)
The “clearly you aren’t mourning his missing-ness and possible eaten-by-a-coyote-ness as much as I am and therefore you.did.not.love.our.dog” stares.
There are other thoughts that went through my head. But I’ve confessed those already.
Truthfully, sometimes even when we’re Christians we simply don’t act right.
We don’t love our neighbor. We whisper about the lady at church with unpainted toes. We judge others’ mourning habits and dressing habits and tattooing and cigarette-smoking and eating habits.
But who are we to think we have it all together? To hold others up to OUR standard, when we aren’t even holding ourselves up to Christ’s standard. (Except for you, older mom-ish lady, wearing low-rise jeans over your high-rise undies at a YOUTH event. I’m pretty sure Jesus would want me to tell you you need to either put those undies away, put the jeans away, or go commando.)
So Buckley the wonder dog is missing, and we’re sad, and life is NOT perfect for Christians and sometimes we don’t act right even when we know better… and if that’s you this week, praise God for the good we see in the midst of the bad. And praise God for new chances and new weeks to get it right after we get it wrong. (And for good husbands who forgive our stink-eyes and death stares.) Amen? Amen.