05-22-2008, 09:22 PM
I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.
"Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.
Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it" Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.
Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!" Dad ignored me. "Did you hear me, Dad?" I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate.
We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.
Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.
It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.
Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke ****, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.
Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As **** and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.
The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life.
And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers."
"I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.
For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article...Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. . .his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of their deaths.
And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.
Life is too short for drama & petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly.
Live While You Are Alive.
Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time.
And if you don't send this to at least 4 people - who cares?
But do share this with someone. Lost time can never be found.
Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense.