Tripping

A friend of mine told me I was too old to have a dog.  Although there are days, like today, when I almost agree with her, this morning’s misadventure began with my cats.  Boss and Charger are affectionate, dignified creatures, but they don’t like to be sequestered in the bedroom.  Charger, in particular, resists this procedure.  And so, when I  reached  down to capture his fat butt,  he scooted between my legs and I tripped, fell, and swore.  No bones broken, but I landed on my bad knee.  “Well, I’m going to feel this tomorrow”, I thought.  In view of what happened next, that was pure Pollyanna.

With Charger still at large, I made my way to the garage to release the dogs.  Bonnie-the-Bullet, cat- killer extraordinaire,  was released first.  Moving forward to catch her collar, I tripped on a piece of styrofoam, hit a concrete step with the bad knee, and hyper-extended the left shoulder trying to catch myself.  At this point, swearing was out of the question. Inarticulate groanings, interspersed with “Ow, ow, ow”, were more medicinal.  Now the bad knee, the good knee, the back and the shoulder were crying out “INFLAMMATION”.  So much for feeling it tomorrow.

But the dogs still had to be let out.  Bonnie, a perfect lady when she’s not stalking cats, was patiently waiting for me to stop moaning and attend to business. With her encouragement (wag, wag, woof, lick, wag, wag), I righted myself,  and freed her without the restraining hand.  Today, it was every creature for itself.  “Hope you live, Charger”, I muttered.  But Charger was in no danger.  He was avoiding the trip-mistress, and all three canines were released without the shedding of blood.

I wonder, as I sit here typing, ice bag on left shoulder, what the moral of the story is.  There are probably several:  1. Watch where you’re going  2.  Get in better shape   3.  Let Gabe help.  But- get rid of the dogs?  No, it would cost me too much.  They are a fascinating, friendly part of creation and I am grateful for them.  None-the-less, love comes at a price, and body injuries are part of it.

So what do we do when we trip over people?  At times, I am worn thin by difficult students, and I wonder whether giving the usual farewell gifts and notes means anything.  Do they even care?   The emotional bruises I have received during unsatisfactory encounters make me doubt the efficacy of such gestures.  But beneath the frustration and hurt lies the certainty that God cares.  In fact, He has made me care.   Regardless of whether the kids appreciate the gift-giving, deleting it would cost me too much.

It’s a shame I had to fall twice to figure it out.

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