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Saturday, May 22, 2010

If Wishes Were Popsicles...

Last Night, I was contemplating the silliness we often call wishing. If only we had the power to change _____________ (fill in the blank), the world would be a better place. I was thinking how much easier it would have been if I had been called to the dog ministry instead of the adoption ministry. Rehabilitating dogs is so much easier. I have so much experience in this area, and so much success. Why then would the Father lead me to a ministry that is so much harder and for which I was completely unprepared? If only they were dogs...

We've never gone and picked out a pet. They always arrive here. Either someone drops them off or someone asks us to take them (and the 'for a while' seems to be forgotten very quickly). Often these animals are being given away because of some perceived defect. They are too rowdy, or too aggressive, or simply too needy (i.e. eat to much). And I have never rejected an animal that has found its way to my door. I am too soft hearted and inclined to the case of the unloved. We have experienced a season of loss here with our pets, and while it is so sad to have an animal go, especially if they were sick or in pain at the end, I can look back at those experiences and feel that we did wonderful things for those animals.

One, our Siamese cat, passed away after a fight with a UTI that we just couldn't knock. He was born here. Someone dropped off a pregnant cat (again) and she had kittens under the porch. It was storming terribly one night and I heard a kitten screaming even above the thunder. I couldn't let it go, so I ran out in the storm and crawled under the porch. The other kittens were fine, but this little white one had crawled into puddle and was struggling to keep his face above the water. Their eyes were not yet opened, so he was in peril. I had to really crawl through the mud to get to where they were nested, but I did finally get that kitten, and the others, and brought them into the house. I dried them off and set them in a box in my bathroom. Their mother showed up at the door the next day and I let her in. When they were old enough, I sent them all back outside...except the white one. He seemed to know I had rescued him and was exceptionally friendly to me while his siblings hissed and ran. Only when he got older did we realize he was a Siamese mix and just how beautiful his markings were. He was such a good friend when I was sick or upset. Cats have a sense about those things.

Even the pets that we have left were rehabilitation cases. Our dog is a chow mix who just showed up when we were building our house. In fact, one of the contractors stopped to check the well and because we were not here, she grabbed him by the ankle. It didn't break any skin, but he called the dog warden just the same and they came out to get her. I had a choice- let them take this dog I did not even know, or to save her. It would require a special license as she was classified as a vicious dog, but as I looked into those eyes I saw a dog who was just trying to earn her place in our home, so I adopted her. In such a short time, she was different. I was strict but kind, and the consistent gentleness allowed her to stop being on guard all the time. She still watches out for us, but she is NOT a vicious dog. People laugh at the man who told everyone not to come here or risk being eaten alive by our Cookie. When we tell her someone is OK, she rolls over and asks them to rub her belly. So vicious!!!!!!

Why can't kids be that easy? Why can't consistent gentleness fix what happened to them? I found myself wishing it was just like rehabilitating a dog. Good food every day, love with boundaries which create safety and security, and welcome arms. In fact, I was thinking, I have been able to help others' kids. I have over the years done daycare or babysitting for people whose kids were out of hand. Just a few days at MeeMee's house, and those kids were different. They knew better than to pull any tricks here, though they didn't fear or hate me for it, either. They came to love and appreciate the safety of the boundaries and to understand that as long as you are within them, MeeMee is one of the funnest people in the world. They would miss me over the weekend and run in the door on Monday. I have something of a reputation of being able to transform kids while still being someone those kids truly adore. Why is it so much easier to help others' kids and not my own?

I suspect the answer lies somewhere in the fact that with the other kids and even the animals, I did not take the problems personally. I was not nearly as invested as I am with my kids because I am fully responsible for them. At the end of the day, no one will look at me if those other kids turn out wrong. No one will judge me by my ability to fix or not fix a broken animal because of the abuse they suffered before. But I know that children are a mother's heritage, and also a glimpse into who she really is that she cannot hide or cover up. If my kids are thieves when they grow up, people will look at me as having been lax in teaching them to respect the property of others. If my children are violent, the suspicion will be on me that I did not teach them to control their emotions. Someday those kids will be a reflection of the deepest, most secret parts of my life, and that is a lot of pressure! I think that pressure has caused me to want perfection. And the tension created by that drive makes me all the more likely to 'freak' when they screw it up.

So I sit and waste my time wishing changing kids (who are made in the image of G-d and are therefore complex and precious) was the same as taking a stray dog and teaching it to trust again. If only......

1 comment:

Jeannie said...

I came back and re read this and feel as though I could have been typing this myself.Great writing here then again alot of what you say is good!