Waiting, whether it’s in line at the grocery or for an outcome that is out of your hands, is no easy feat. Patience is a virtue, I’ve always heard, but it can be a big ole drag, too.
I recently had an experience in waiting, and being helpless to boot. But, it was good for me and good for my faith. And while there was a good outcome, the best that could have been really, I hope that I would say the same even if that outcome were different.
You see, our 11-year-old dog Lucy disappeared. We didn’t see her for three whole days and nights, and each night I was forced to give up the search, give up calling her name into the dark night. I felt like I shouldn’t stop, couldn’t stop because I needed to be doing something, every second, to try to find her and get her home.
More cruel than the thoughts of her having met a brutal death on a roadway, or her being out there alone and searching endlessly for home, was just not knowing anything other than she was gone.
Just so I could breathe, I had to focus my eyes, my heart on God, and that’s just what I did, a couple times on the cold, hard tile of the kitchen floor because I couldn’t do anything else, so lost in worry and despair I was.
I felt so helpless, and even though I was doing everything I could to get the word out and get my dog home, I felt like that wasn’t enough.
Lucy may just be a dog and born with certain innate instincts, but she is a Shepherd, and with that comes the safekeeping from her family of humans. That she was out there somewhere, well, that meant that I couldn’t keep her safe.
But God could. And that’s what I kept telling myself, I had to trust God because I had asked Him for her protection.
It was hard, so hard, as is always that surrender, even if it’s for our own good. But I kept at it. And when I was scared, I told God as much, and I did the same when I felt the fright and the worry eating away at me. I told Him. Of course, He knew anyway, but releasing it, admitting it, was cathartic for me, and I felt like verbalizing it in prayer somehow made it easier to bear, or maybe it just made it easier for me to give to God so that He could bear it.
I had to give it up, because I could not breathe or think on anything else at all, otherwise.
I joked to my stepmom after Lucy was home that maybe God just got tired of hearing my prayers about my dog. I don’t think that’s true, at least not all the way true.
We did get her home, after about 72 hours on the nose. And it was with the help of others who had seen the Facebook posts, the calls from strangers that I got, all of that led to her return.
It took her a minute to recognize us, but when she did Lucy was vocal in her relief. It sounded like she was crying which, coupled with the surreal relief I felt, pulled some audible sobs from my tired body right there on the side of SR 753.
Knowing my dog, it is my educated assumption that she went for a little stroll and just got too far, got turned around, and really got lost. I think that for three days and three nights she kept moving, putting one paw in front of the other with the goal of getting back to her family. I don’t think she slept much, and I don’t know that she ate much either. I know the dog we got home was exhausted, bone tired and weary, but grateful, too.
She’s not the type to let someone take her, or let someone take her in either. She’s a family-centric, all-business kind of gal that only wants to protect her humans.
That she’s home, well, I know God was listening. And having to hand over my trust in that heartbreaking and helpless feeling experience, really hand it over and trust, was sort of a homecoming for me, too. It was a reminder that God is there, all the time, no matter the hugeness or smallness of what I am experiencing.
Lucy was lost, and I certainly felt lost, too. But God has surely used that experience to remind me that I am found.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.