Monday, December 5, 2011

Going to the Vet

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” -1Pet. 5:6

Yesterday, I took our lab, Maisy, for a drive to the Vet’s office. She’s a loving, hyper, cocky puppy these days, but yesterday, she was scared, quiet and humble as she sat in the floorboard of my SUV with her tail between her legs. Today she is going to be spayed and the vet needed to check her weight in preparation for the surgery. I was reminded of the strength of humility. I don't know about dogs, but I know God uses opportunities of humility to remind us all of our own frailty, our dependence on others and our need for God. We need those reminders!

Life is so much fun on sunny days when our health is excellent, our bank account is overflowing with cash and our car is full of gas. It’s easy to cruise along when our greatest challenges are small, but when we’re sick or an unexpected financial set back hits us, we’re like Maisy sitting in the floorboard: scared, dependent and needy.

I was talking with a teenager last year as we were kicking a soccer ball back and forth. The teen’s main focus in life was soccer with the future goal of playing in college. He was asking me questions about playing college soccer. My answers surprised him, “Yes, I played in college but it was not a big deal at my school and you know what, it was such a small part of my life.” I could tell by the look on his face that he was disappointed. I continued, “Enjoy soccer, but you need to remember that you’re only an injury away from never playing again.” I reminded him that Jesus is the only thing that lasts forever. He was shocked. This was a great kid, but I had taken his secure world of athletics and exposed it as fragile and temporary. I will never forget his response back to me, “Oh Joey, I’ll never get injured.” I saw so much of myself in his answer.

When I’m Maisy, sleeping in the backyard, my stomach full, cats out of the yard, and torn up items everywhere, things are great. I’m in control, I’m the ruler of my ship, “I’ve got the world on a string” and “everything is going my way.” I might even throw out a, “Praise God for He is good” comment because everything in my circumstances is perfect. I’m convinced that I have it all covered and I too will “never get injured.”

Then BOOM. I wake up sick or the doctor office calls with the negative report or I balance the checkbook and I’m out of cash (with a lot of month left to go) or the car breaks down or I leave for work with a strain in a relationship or I’m called into the boss’ office and am told I’ve lost my job. The list goes on and on. One minute I’m basking in the backyard, the “big dog” and under control. The next minute, I’m off to the vet’s office about to be sliced open, with everything out of my control.

And then I have a choice. I can try to regain control by trying to “fix”, get angry over my circumstances or blame someone else for my misfortune. Or, I can accept the circumstances with humility and lean on God. Yes, God engineers circumstances in my life so that I’ll depend on Him. Why? Because He knows I’m at my best when I’m in that position. Just ask Job of the Bible. It’s a long book, but read it sometime. He was basking in the sunlight, then life took a twist and he was broken. But, in the end, He settled with God and he was okay. God provides the opportunity, but we have to humble ourselves.

So relax in the circumstances this week. Be humble in the up and the down times.

Whether you’re headed to the Vet or not.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just read all the stories on Maisy (and parenting) after doing a search on yellow labs, and I really like them. I adopted a yellow lab last month, who was also 4 months old, and she fits the breed as well. It only took her a few days to learn where her toilet is (the full acre in the back yard that's fenced or the other full acre that's also fenced during her rare times in the front yard) though she has had a few accidents that were sometimes my fault. This was after taking her out every 15-30 min. and staying outside anywhere from 2 minutes to over an hour. Then she feels the need to eat my son's slippers any chance she gets, refuses to stay where we want her to at night, chases our ducks and rabbit, jumps and nibbles on anyone and everyone every chance she gets, has to have a bath at least every other day, doesn't come when she's called outside the majority of the time, and also feels the need to use the force of a bull when walking anywhere.

There have been times (especially the 1st week) that I thought seriously about buying a shock collar to correct her behavior. But I said to myself, well she's a puppy and doesn't know the rules. Luckily (or unluckily depending on the circumstances), I have been home and only worked a few hours in the month we've had Bella. Each day is a bit better and she is great when its just the 2 of us here. My husband comes home and its chaos. He ignores her so she just follows him around waiting for attention. My 5 year old son (who is supposed to be her main owner) comes in and she HAS to jump on him and bite him (just hard enough for him to say "Ow!") and steals his toys from his room.

I've tried running with her around the house up to an hour, then letting her lose to run in the back fence twice a day, popped her numerous times, corrected her the second she misbehaves, brought the neighbor's dog over to wear her out playing, bought her at least 20 new toys that are just hers and rotated them out for her, and she still does these same things over and over. If she wasn't so pretty and my son wasn't so attached to her I would seriously think of rehoming her. But I can't do that to him.

As for the parts about parenting, you are right on that too. My son has never really given me any problems beyond a 1 week phase he went through with being rude to his teacher. I was either home with him or his teacher at the daycare until this past year, and still stayed with him from President's Day until about 3 weeks ago because he broke his collar bone and I didn't want to send him to school. I know he will have a mean streak, go through a time when he doesn't tell me he loves me everyday, and I may not come 1st for a while when he meets some girl later on. But I'm thankful for the relationship and the bond we have now. Our days don't have to be so structured we can't enjoy ourselves so long as we got the important things accomplished-Did we eat every meal? Do we have everything we need for school or whatever we're doing tomorrow? Did we spend time outside today? Did we have at least one conversation today that we can feel good about? Do we have a matching outfit or uniform for everyone to wear in the morning?

I try to teach him to be responsible but also leave room for unexpected and unknown circumstances. Is it important that the dishes are done right away, or that we read together to build his literacy skills before bed?

My goal is to raise a healthy, happy, polite, and responsible child and obedient and happy dog. I hope I am accomplishing that, which is what I got from your messages.

Thank you for sharing them with us.