Wednesday, September 26, 2012

“Some Good in This World”

          First thing Monday morning I had errands to run, so I walked the dogs and then took them with me. When we returned, a friend from Divorce Recovery brought over supplies and filled in the bite marks and scratches in the bathroom, peeled off more paint, sanded everything, and then painted it all to match. The bathroom looks decent again, and the friend refused to let me reimburse for the supplies or pay for the labor. I am awed by all of the kind people around and by God’s work in our lives.
          By the time the girls arrived home from school that afternoon, the bathroom was finished and the cats and dogs had settled into a tentative truce. I sat on the couch with my laptop resting on my lap and Piper sitting across my chest and arms. Yes, both of our cats love plopping onto my arms while I am at the computer.  Sam lay next to me on the couch, his hip pressed against my leg, and Thorin rested at my feet.  Zeus perched on the top of the sofa, content to look down on the rest of us.
          A phone call changed everything.
          We were all settling in, fitting together, knitting a new life when a lady called me earlier that afternoon to ask about Sam. She'd seen the information the woman from church had put out last week.  If Sam still needed a home, she had someone interested.  Could she give him my number?  Within an hour, Tom* called, and he sounded perfect for Sam. A positive solution. A resolution. An answered prayer.
          I stop typing and place my face in my hands. How do I explain this?  What words describe the conflicting emotions rolling through me still?  Joy for answered prayers, raw from hurt, heartbroken for my girls, happy for Sam, sad for Thorin, the list goes on...
          Tom explained that he'd raised a chocolate lab from a puppy to thirteen years. Tom's mom had recently beat cancer, and the lab had helped her have a reason to get out of bed again. Three weeks ago, their lab died. Three weeks ago, Sam traveled to Florida.
          They were looking for another lab, a mature lab, a lab that would be loved and rarely left alone. When not with Tom at his house, the lab would be with his mom who has a huge fenced in backyard and a mountain of dog toys. The lab would be spoiled; the lab would be a blessing to them. Could we bring Sam over tonight?
          "Do you promise if it doesn't work out you will call me and not drop him off somewhere?"
          "I would never do that. The only way it wouldn't work is if he bit someone. I'd never."
          Tom even asked if we were okay; he couldn't imagine having a lab for six years and having to let him go. He offered for us to keep in contact, to have play dates with Sam, and continue to be part of his life.
          We agreed to meet that evening and see. 

I remember when we first met Sam, a tiny black puppy.  The runt of the litter, he made up for size with a big heart.  From the first moment we met him, we loved him.  Laina smuggled him into her room to play, saying she was keeping him forever.  Even then, I argued against adding another responsibility to our life.  The others convinced me.  Sam and his sweet spirit convinced me.  The fact that I’d always longed for a lab convinced me.  We paid for him and kept him with us that very day. From then on, he was part of our family, and we named him after Samwise Gamgee, Frodo’s faithful and loyal friend, thinking of Sam’s speech of friendship and hope to Frodo at the end of The Two Towers:
Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

After picking Lexi up from work, we drive to Tom's house, which is only 15 minutes from our place. The girls cry the whole way, and I feel a knot in my chest.  
We walk into the gorgeous, huge tan house, and Sam instantly explores everywhere.  I chatter away, trying to cram six years of love into a five minute bio. When I mention that Sam loves water, Tom says he has water in his backyard, "You don't think he'll jump in, do you?" I ask what kind of water, and he says "brackish" and opens the back door that looks out onto a beautiful deck with a bar and hot tub.  Sam dashes out and races away. We all chase after him—his favorite game. Tom and Laina are ahead while Lexi and I walk slower with Thorin.
"Why'd you mess it up, Mom? How could you do that? He's not gonna want him now" Lexi snaps at me.
"Stop it. I know you're hurting, but it's not okay to take it out on me."
We walk the block and see no sign of Sam. The girls wait on the deck while Tom and I drive around. On the way back, we find Sam racing down the street. When I holler, he runs straight to my window.  I open the door, and he throws himself into the car, half on my lap, panting and looking so happy.  We return to the house and let him explore. "Do you still want him?"
I realize that I forgot to bring a bone for Sam, so Tom runs to Publix while we wait with the dogs. He returns with $50 worth of dog food, bones, and toys. He opens one and squeezes it, hiding it from Sam. Sam's tail is wagging as he dances around and snatches the toy. He runs to his spot on the rug in front of the large screen TV and proceeds to destroy the toy in less than five minutes. Tom laughs, rubs Sam's head, and hands him another toy.
Finally, we have to say goodbye, and we leave quickly. Goodbye, but only for now. We have agreed for Sam to stay with him this week, and we'll pick him up Friday to spend the weekend with him. We want to see with our own eyes that he's healthy and happy in three days. We want to see what our life will be like without him, now that we are used to him again. We want to see how Thorin will react being separated.  We want more time.
The ride home is long and hard. With blocks on our chests and tears rolling down our cheeks, we all loudly protest leaving him behind.
Once home, I text Tom to check on Sam, and his text affirms: Tail wagging chewing bone. Lying on carpet. I'm lying on floor next to him.
It's supposed to be us there on the floor with Sam and his wagging tail.

*Name changed for privacy.

No comments:

Post a Comment