My twentieth wedding anniversary is still a few years away. However, to me, it seems that marriage is a lot about arm-twisting. You twist each other’s arms into certain decisions for good and for “not-so-good” throughout your marriage. And you learn just how far to twist before you need to stop. My husband did not want us to have a dog. My son begged for a dog for years, and my daughter “came along for the ride”.
I was finally convinced, and I twisted my husband’s arm a little because I know how he works – objections at first, but adaptable and loving at his core. (Note that there is a difference here between FLEXIBLE and ADAPTABLE.) Well, we adopted a 5-year old mutt from the shelter. The veterinarian thinks he’s part Terrier and part Lhasa Apso. I think I’ve seen too much of the veterinarian. This free dog has cost us a pretty penny over the last month. This puppy’s restoration story has given me a lot to think about.
Bradley had to be shaved at the pound because he was so matted. He had puncture wounds around his shoulders and he has a scar across his back. He is missing a canine tooth and a couple other teeth. He also had dry skin in various places. He was a stray wandering the streets a week before we picked him out at the shelter. After he came home, he didn’t seem to hear well and seemed to be squinting in one eye. Later, he was licking his paw profusely. Come to find out, this dog had yeast and bacterial infections in both ears. His ears smelled bad because of it. He had an eye infection. Then, we found the cyst between his toes, which had to be drained and checked. He looked “muggly”, only something a Mom could love.
Now, let’s talk about Bradley’s attitude. He rarely barks. He barks at the guy who mows our lawn, he barks at my son’s remote control car, and he barks at the printer (yes, I agree it is very suspicious that it moves on its own). He doesn’t like to be outside alone in the dark. He wants to be petted. If you start petting him, he rolls over on his back hoping you will scratch his belly. He loves to play fetch, and he likes to play keep-away-from-Mom if she is in the mood.
This dog wants to be on the couch, even though he is trying very hard to obey our rules. He follows me around like everything about me is exciting. He is very well behaved at the vet office and at the groomer. He loves other dogs and doesn’t bark at them. He is stubborn when he doesn’t want to go to bed or go outside. It is obvious that someone earlier in this dog’s life loved this dog and trained him.
This dog was recently given a clean bill of health by the vet. Now that he doesn’t need that sticky ear medicine, we finally took him to the groomer. He looks very cute and lovable. And he has definitely settled into our routine. He has even adapted to Adam the hamster and his propensity to escape.
Now, sometimes we will all be hanging out in the house, and suddenly we smell something horrible. We accuse one child or the other and tell them to go change their clothes. We have learned that this isn’t the kids, it is Bradley. Every couple of weeks, he will go out and poop in the yard and then he’ll roll around in it. Then he waltzes back in the house and expects to be petted like nothing’s wrong. I don’t get it, why is that a fun thing to do? And guess what he gets next – a hose down in the backyard to wash him off.
How often have we received a mini-restoration in our lives? I have had those wonderful moments when God picked me up by my bootstraps, cleaned me up, healed my wounds, and set me right. Sometimes that works. But sometimes no matter how I happy I am, I choose to roll around in my own poop. We need to appreciate those restorative periods in our lives and move forward. We need to stop rolling around in our poop. No one wants to pet and cuddle someone who smells like poop. Just saying. And everyone needs a good friend or loved one who has the audacity to hose us down with cold water occasionally, and tell us to, “Cut it out!”
Do you ever joke about the Resurrection? I do. Just what color and phase of life will my hair be restored to? You know what I’m talking about. I’d like to pick and choose my features in the resurrection as if I’m creating a new profile character in a video game. (Maybe in the resurrection I won’t be so vain, one can only hope.) Hopefully, the angel robes come in sizes for short, square women with broad shoulders and short arms – or God restores to me the two inches in height that I’ve been missing.
I don’t know the exact physical features I will be restored to in the next life. I know that I will be in a perfected human body, and I will be female, and the intelligence and personality and personal growth I achieve in this life will be where I start in the next. I look forward to that restoration because I imagine it will even be better than the mini-restorations God has provided me in this life. And maybe by then, I will stop wallowing in my own poop. I hope you do, too.
Molly A. Kerr
Molly is on a life long quest to figure herself out. Born to be and educated as an aerospace engineer she is also blessed to be a wife and a mom of two in the present, previously served as a full-time missionary, is consistently called to teach the youth in her ward, is eagerly though slowly doing home improvement as money and time allow, all while gradually learning how to be herself and find peace and balance somewhere in between. Despite her attempts to make “the right” decisions in her life, she has learned to deal with some unexpected challenges over the last two decades. Total tornadoes, really. What she has discovered is that her career has taught her a lot about the Gospel and being a better mother, and the Gospel, when applied to challenges at the office, has made her a better professional. She has also learned that it is okay to be herself, and God still loves (and forgives) her for it.