...I learned from Buddy.
This post will put me on the high alert list for hopping in the loony bin, I am sure. Once again, Crazy Mama is posting about a dog. Not just any dog, mind you, but the dog her husband found on the interstate and took in (heart worms and all) and spent a small fortune on to make well. A small fortune we really didn't have to share with anyone, much less a dog. But we did it any way. This morning, he is at the vet draining more money from the account. But this time is elective and much needed - Buddy is being neutered today.
So last night, Scott and I were sitting outside in the back yard enjoying the beautiful spring-like temperatures. And Scott was indulging in one of his favorite evening snacks - boiled peanuts. It really is a common snack around here, and we have plenty left from my boiling adventure and put up for future snacking. As any dog would do, Buddy was sitting right at the feet of the eater with hopes of a stray peanut or shell to come his way. He kept inching closer and closer to Scott, and soon he was nearly sitting on the tops of Scott's feet. He was begging, and Scott and I both have been trying to work on Buddy's lack of social skills. We do a lot of entertaining, especially in the summer, and we don't want Buddy jumping and begging all summer long. So Scott took the paper towel he was holding in his hand and hit Buddy's face with it and told him to back off. His voice was stern, but he didn't hurt him. It was a paper towel - there was no way it could have caused him physical pain. Buddy acted as if he had been smacked - smacked hard. He cowered down, tucked his tail, and backed up some five feet.
Scott and I both wanted to cry. The dog was so upset by such a small gesture. When Scott reached out to him to help him know everything was alright, he just kept his tail tucked and head down and inched his way back. It just broke my heart. Someone, somewhere has mistreated this dog. How anyone could look at those big brown eyes and mistreat him I will never understand. He is so sweet and so gentle. And now he is left so tender that we can barely discipline him. But then it hit me - how many times have I done this to my kids? Too many to count.
Nearly every day, I lose my patience with my children. Lately it has been more often. I am ashamed to admit it, but it is true. I have allowed the stress of everyday life to effect my mood. All these little stresses (well, some of them are big) build up inside and eventually come out in some form. I yell. I get aggravated. I hold it all in in the hopes it will just fade away, when,in truth,all the frustrations lie and wait for a small perforation in the facade to appear in which they can burst through and rear their ugly heads. And every time I lash out toward my children, I am breaking small pieces of their spirit away.
When I saw Buddy cower the way he did last night, I had a flash of my kids cowering to me. And it broke my heart. This is definitely something I need to work on. Something to pray about. I have so many things to pray about these days. It seems the list grows longer and longer. So many friends in financial struggles. So many sad stories around these days. Just so much going on. And I take it all in and try to hold on to it. That's where my wrestling problem comes in. In stead of turning my fears and stress over to God, I hold on to them. Until I feel I could explode.
I don't want to take my adult stresses out on my innocent children. I don't want them to remember me as being an impatient, yelling lunatic Crazy Mama. I don't want them to tip toe around me. I should be as angry at myself as I am at that anonymous soul who has mistreated Buddy.
So I think I know now why Buddy is here. He reminds me each day of the tenderness needed in life. A tender balance between discipline and love. Care and protection. Unconditional love. Isn't unconditional love the most beautiful thing? And it is something best demonstrated on this earth by a dog. And I often forget it is the same love of a family. And the same love from God. And who knew I needed sweet Buddy to remind me of these obvious truths.