Friday, January 29, 2010

Bad Stewardship of the Dog

I was very confident that blogging my failures was a great way to connect with others and keep humble.  Then as I start my confession, I realize it might also be a good way to invite social services or animal control over.  I thought I could ease into this confessing thing, but now I'm not as confident.

Last weekend, we got back from a nice breakfast after a 9AM basketball game and the dog was whining in her kennel.  I had let her out to use the bathroom before we left, and knew she was only whining because she wanted to get out and join us, so I felt no urgency.  As I came into the kitchen and started to settle in, it seemed odd that she didn't quit whining.  I was about to tell the dog to hush, when my older daughter declared from the dining area, "Mom, Naboo is outside!" 

I looked up and told her, "Honey, she's in her kennel."

She repeated, more firmly, "Mom.  The dog is outside!"

I looked past her and saw that the sliding door was still unlocked.  I had left the dog outside before the basketball game.  It was in the 30's and rainy, and my ten pound, chihuahua/terrier had been out in it for three hours.

Let me tell you about Naboo.  We rescued her about a year and a half ago.  She had Kennel Cough, so there was a barrier of caution tape across her kennel.  I think that's the only reason she lasted long enough at the ARL for us to find her.  She has the patience of a saint.  She lets us dress her up (that should be the subject of another confession) and she has tolerated the curiousity and abuse of my younger daughter like a trooper.  My husband did not want a dog, so Naboo is 100% my dog - for good and for bad.

When my daughter did her worst, actually throwing Naboo down the deck stairs (fortunately, I caught her doing it and Naboo was unhurt), we had a quiet talk at bedtime that night.  We talked about how Naboo is much smaller than her and how Naboo can't do things for herself; how she depends on us to care for her.  When we are in charge of another being, it is our job to look out for it and care for it - and most especially never to hurt it.  Needless to say, those reproachful words came back to haunt me last Saturday morning!

I brought Naboo in right away and wrapped her in a towel to help her warm up.  She's curled up on my lap right now, so I think everything is forgiven between us.  I hope to be more careful, but if I were to prioritize the things it's not OK to forget, I would rather it be my lunch than my dog, but I'd also rather it be my dog than my kids, right?

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 1:28 (NIV)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why tell people?

I told my husband that I was thinking about starting a blog where I share the stuff I screw up and his first reaction was, "Why would you want to tell people?"  Which kind of surprised me, because he has been encouraging me to write for a long time.  So, to answer him and maybe you, here is my first confession:

I am a perfectionist.  My frailties, small and large, drive me crazy.  It causes me real pain when I damage a relationship, cause harm to someone else, or make an mistake that wastes time and treasure.  I wish I could say that, with Christ as my compass, I've never steered off course.  But that would be a lie.  I blow it all the time.  Why would I want to tell people about it?  I think there is something to be gained from confessing to you here.

First, it is cathartic.  It releases me (He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)).  I hate keeping secrets; I'm good at it, but I hate it.

Second, sometimes it's pretty funny.  I like to think I'm a pretty smart gal, but I do really stupid things.  And why should I keep that to myself when you could enjoy it?

Third, Paul talks in his second letter to the church in Corinth about the brokenness of Christians and the perfect glory of God in Christ.  He says, We are not preaching about ourselves. Our message is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He also sent us to be your servants.  The Scriptures say, "God commanded light to shine in the dark." Now God is shining in our hearts to let you know that his glory is seen in Jesus Christ.  We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. (2:5-7, CEV)

Sometimes we want to pretend that when we committed to follow Christ, we became the treasure.  We're not.  We're still fragile clay jars, and sometimes that's all that others can see - how dull and messed up we are.  But it is my hope that if I can quit pretending to be the treasure, and accept that I'm just a clay pot, others can begin to glimpse the treasure within (which, keep in mind, is not me, but Christ).
The answer to my perfectionism is to realize that I'm just a clay pot, and be grateful I get to hold treasure.  This is my lighthearted attempt to share that journey with you.