Lexi worked on Saturday morning, while I headed to Wickham Park with Laina and the dogs for social hour at the dog park. As usual, Sam explored the area and played with the other dogs. Not feeling his best, Thorin stayed near us, only running around a little, yet still trying to dominate the large dogs. An hour later, we hosed them down and picked Lexi up. We spent the afternoon attempting to catch up with homework and grading.
Late that afternoon, we drove to the dog beach for more fun and played with the harvest moon as a backdrop. The girls took turns running with Sam who still adored the beach. Thorin still detested the ocean but was content to sit and watch. Over and over, Sam seized his leash, wanting to lead the way. Laina kept pulling the leash up, trying to keep him from capturing it.
Frustrated, Laina plopped onto the sand and pulled, determined to win the tug of war. Although she won the battle, she lost the war when, five minutes later, Sam snapped the leash in half. Thankfully, she still held the first handle, and he didn’t get completely loose to chase all of the other dogs at the beach. Time to leave.
We stopped by our friend’s house to hose down the dogs before returning home for the evening.
Once more, we stayed home from the morning church service because the girls wanted more time with Sam and were still behind with homework. We spent the day with the dogs and with work.
Over the weekend, we mixed rice and hamburger in with their dog food (vet’s recommendation for Thorin’s upset tummy), and Thorin was finally well.
That evening, the girls said, “See ya,” to Sam. It was important to them that it’s not a forever goodbye. While sad, they could see for themselves that Sam’s needs are best met with the other family, so they hugged him hard and left for the youth service. Once again, I found myself envious. I want to be dropped off for some amusement rather than left alone with all of the responsibilities. I didn’t realize how much I need a break until I started writing about the weekend. I didn’t realize how much I miss my friends. My focus this September has been on the dogs. While understandable, it’s not healthy.
I clarified with both the girls and later with Tom that we won’t be able to see Sam for a few weeks. My priority has to be catching up with everything and getting used to our routine again. Plus, it will help Sam bond with his new family. In a few weeks, it will be good to go play with Sam again, but for now, we have other priorities to focus on.
I took the dogs to my friend’s backyard to run because I didn’t want to return Sam to Tom with too much excess energy. Even though Sam had all of that open space, he still whined. An hour later, I put Sam and Thorin in the car. Sam whined, and Thorin yelped. I fed and walked my friends’ dogs before taking Sam back to Tom.
Relief mixed with sadness as I dropped Sam off at his new home. He loped in like he belonged, welcomed Tom, and appeared content. With a lump in my throat, I patted Sam’s head for a final time and left. As I drove off, I saw Tom hold the door open with Sam sitting in the doorway. His body quivered, but he stayed and waited, listening to Tom. Once I picked up the girls and arrived home, I sent a text to check on Sam. No whining, and already no pulling on the leash. As Tom mentioned, they “will be good” together, and that’s what counts.
As for me, on the car ride home, the girls bickered and badgered. As words and emotions were volleyed from girl to girl to me, all of the emotions and pressures of the month built up, and I snapped. While I’m not proud of my outburst, yelling helped relieve the pressure I’ve been under. In retrospect, three things are essential for me to incorporate into my life on a more consistent basis: breaks, time with friends, and a physical outlet like swimming, running, or doing P90X.
Last week’s study of Nehemiah started with confession and remembrance of the history of God’s promises and work in our lives, and it ended with breaking the cycle through a plea for help and true change. If we are not reaping the harvest that God has intended for our lives, then we need to confess, listen, obey, and change something. Kelly Minter says, “So many times I’ve longed for my circumstances to change while I haven’t been willing to change.” I don’t know about you, but I, too, am guilty of that.
She continues, “Making changes in our lives can be hard, but it’s our refusal to change the places God is asking us to change that keeps us stuck on the dismal merry-go-round we’re too afraid to jump off yet too sick to stay on. We hold on tightly only to pass by the same old stuff exactly where it was at the last time we swirled past.” There are merry-go-rounds that I have jumped off of, and some merry-go-rounds I still need to leave behind. Letting go is scary yet one of the first steps necessary for real change. Last week when I read this passage, I wrote in the margin, “God, show me. I am open.”