Sam and Thorin visited the vet on Thursday afternoon at Coquina Ridge Animal Clinic where she confirmed that they had been neglected for several months but that they were making a strong comeback. The vet and her assistants adored them and commended us for raising such sweet, good-natured dogs. They received shots and a checkup. The verdict: both are healthy overall, though Thorin needed some antibiotics and skin care because his rash was worse than Sam’s. I am relieved to know that they are on the mend and mostly healthy, and I am grateful that we had the privilege to be part of their recovery.
We decided to try another experiment and left the dogs home alone on Sunday, so we could all attend the church service. Again, we shut Sam into the bathroom and Thorin in the kennel, both with rawhide bones. This time, we moved a bench in front of the door of the kennel to hold Thorin in, and we hoped for the best.
The message was exactly what we needed to hear! Currently, Church at Viera (CAV) is doing a series on Ordinary Heroes, and last Sunday’s message that we missed to stay home with the dogs was about those silent heroes who help others and share their gifts in service (like the ones who helped us in the past week—many from our church!).
This week’s message was about “The Jethro Principle” in Exodus when Moses’ father-in-law counseled him to delegate so that he wouldn’t burnout. The preacher broke it down into two parts: What’s not good (experiencing burnout, trying to be a superhero, and neglecting family) and what is the right thing to do (each do what he/she does best, enlist competent people of character to do the rest, and break down the span of care/responsibility to reduce stress). He suggested we prioritize, work smarter, and look to God for His power/help.
In the car afterwards, Lexi and Laina shared what they learned from the service, and we all agreed that adding the responsibility and focus of the dogs to our current life was in the “not good” category of trying to be superheroes, experiencing burnout, and even neglecting some aspects of our family. We still don’t have a solution we like, but we have to do something.
We stopped at the Avenue to meet a homeschooling mom for a conversation where I offered my expertise as a reading, writing, and English teacher as well as my experience as an unschooling parent. It felt good to give back.
Three hours after we left, we arrived home, and again, Thorin greeted us at the door, wagging his tail, proud that he’d escaped the kennel. He’d pulled down and chewed on one of the blinds and ripped open a new sack of cat food, which was strewn all over.
I don’t know what to do or what to say, so I will end with some Chris Tomlin lyrics (the last song from today’s service), “I lay me down. I’m not my own. I belong to you alone. Lay me down. Lay me down. Hand on my heart, this much is true. There’s no life apart from you. Lay me down. Lay me down.”