(I wrote this post back when winter was still slowly fading, not long after we decided to rehome the first dog we adopted, but I'm just getting around to posting it now. Hopefully next week I'll finish up a piece about our new dog, Coco, who's proven to be a much better fit.)
The old snow in the yard shrank back from the crisp coat of ice on top and the kids and I walked along tapping down lacy caves with our feet as we waited for the bus.
We all seemed lighter, having decided to re-home our new dog Jaxon.
After they left on the bus, Jaxon and I headed out to the back field and I was sad. Although I framed it as a gift for my husband and kids, I now know that I was the one who needed a dog this winter. Having him here gave me something to focus on, some deep joy and a reason to get outside. Without that dog, I wouldn’t have known the birds were singing, that winter, though posing still as fierce, was waning.
But Jaxon was scared of our older kids, scared of older kids in general and growled and snapped at them on occasion. He needed a quieter home where he could feel more secure, less threatened. And we needed a dog our kids could love freely without fear. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but three weeks in we decided Jaxon should be re-homed.
While posting Jaxon on Craigslist, it occurred to me to contact his original owners to fill them in on the situation – I didn’t want them to see him up for adoption and wonder what had happened. We got him from a family with two young children – a two-year-old and a newborn who was ill and in need of surgery. They were overwhelmed and needed one less thing to manage.
That’s what struck me as I stood in the crunchy field and Jaxon sniffed all along the fence line. I was tempted to feel regret, to tell and believe a story of impulsive decision-making on our part, a story of failure. That’s one possible story, but standing in that spacious place, I sensed another story too, a story running just beneath the surface, one filled with grace and mysterious mercy.
When I texted the original owners they replied immediately, “Bring him back, we can make it work.” It seemed they had turned a corner. “Our daughter will get better, spring will come and we can take him out more,” they said.
There was a family who needed help with a dog they loved.
There also was a family (or more clearly, a woman) who needed something new, some loving bit of softness and joy to nurture for a while. By the mercy of God (and Craigslist) the two became connected and the needs and abilities matched up for a few brief weeks.
I don’t believe God is a matchmaker – a meddling force stitching together lives with neat precision – but I am beginning to understand God is a lover. This is the lens through which God sees the world – sees you. God stitches lives together, hearts together, to multiply love (which God IS) and thereby God multiplies God’s own presence among us.
God’s creative love knows no bounds.
This is the great God of scripture, leaning down into the world, seeing, hearing, knowing the cries of his people. God sending. God arriving. Leading, loving.
This and this alone is the story that runs beneath the surface of all our lives - God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s love.
God sees two weary women, two towns apart.
One has a dog she cannot bear, another needs a dog to love.
God’s fingers twitch, eyes twinkle and love is born and multiplied in our midst.
Every miracle, at its heart, comes down to this - God is love.