Friday, December 17, 2004

An Exercise in Futility

Well, my lesson this morning was not as warm and wonderful as yesterday's. Today what I learned had more to do with a battle of wills that I had no choice but to lose. It was outside my control. I was met with an insurmountable obstacle. And his name is Edgar:

I knew that the medicine I was trying to give Edgar would help his breath and make him easier to cuddle on these long winter evenings. I knew that the result (because Edgar loves nothing more in the world than to sit on your lap and have his ears scratched) would be worth the temporary angst brought about by taking and swallowing the liquid medicine. But Edgar was having none of it. And I mean none of it. We struggled for several minutes. I tried a dozen different ways. Each time Edgar flipped up and around, doing everything he could to dodge the medicine, to escape my embrace, to avoid my hands. I finally let out a totally exasperated "Aaaarrrrgggg!!!!" and put him back down on the floor, where he stood looking at me innocently (was that a victorious gleam in his eye?) and wondering when I'd be giving him his breakfast.

I like to start out my mornings with peace, solitude, prayer, quiet. Good feelings. Quiet time with God. But here I stood, in the kitchen, with my heart thumping in my chest and my blood coursing through my veins. I was mad. I'd been bested by a 15-pound Bichon Frise with the worst dog breath I've ever experienced. We call his condition "death breath" and he really needs this medication--otherwise, someday, somebody is going to melt or turn to stone when he breathes on them!

I'd run up against a wall that just wasn't going to move. I'd hit the limit of my ability to control the situation. Suddenly I felt a kinship with the friend whose teenager is totally ignoring her rules about curfew. I felt a stab of understanding for the friend whose father is being transformed by Alzheimer's, who often acts in a way no one else can anticipate or control. I understood the frustration of friends know with bosses who won't listen, spouses who won't forgive, parents who can't forget, bodies that won't heal, ideas that won't go away, addictions that can't be conquered, jobs that can't be found, and homes where peace just doesn't come.

God, please give us the grace to accept the things we cannot change and show us the next step you want us to take. Enable us to relax into your arms in those moments when we hit the wall of someone else's will or circumstances that are beyond our control. Show us what we can do to bring light into our dark times. And give us the courage to follow where you lead. We usually don't know why things are as they are, but we know--and claim--that you love us and know us and are with us in our struggle, and in our peace. The moments that we can't control can offer us jewels of wisdom. Helps us accept those jewels, dear God, and watch for you to show us how these moments can be transformed in your love.

(And please, God, would you do something about Edgar's breath?)

Love to you all today! :) k

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