Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Mixed Bag

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose. 
- Romans 8:28

Some mornings I wake up and expect the day to be challenging.  Some days, admittedly for me many fewer days, I wake up and expect the day to be easy.  The morning of my birthday I was really expecting an easy day.  I'd dropped my husband off at the airport and then spent an hour chasing a calf the night before.  Those events should have entitled me to an easy day.  Plus, it was my birthday.  Again, an easy day should be a given, right?!

It started well.  I slept late.  My oldest daughter woke me with birthday wishes as she left for school.  I got up in a leisurely manner.  I fed the fish, turkeys, chickens, dogs, cat and cows.  I had a great plan for the day.  Jog, strawberry crepes, no school, library, produce auction, pizza.  Perfect!  I put my headphones on, called the dogs and started on my jog.  Less than a mile down the road my perfect morning fell apart.

My dogs, two large lab/retriever mixes, strayed into the neighbor's yard.  I went after then yelling.  The neighbors dog, seeing a trespasser (me) came barking and growling.  My dog, the more dominate one, defended me by barking at the other dog.  The other dog didn't back down.  My dog became aggressive.  Unfortunately, my dog outweighed the other dog by 70+ lbs.  The neighbors other dog joined in the fray, ganging up on his "sister". I was screaming at my dog.  The neighbors came running for their dog.  It was not a happy situation. 

It's amazing how quickly an easy day can become something else completely.  It took me much of the day to recover from the morning.  I enjoyed time with my children.  We celebrated my birthday in a variety of ways but the sparkle of the morning, the expectation of easy joy, was difficult to recover. 

The neighbor's dog was taken to the vet and will be fine.  I paid the bill, no questions asked.  The neighbors are still very angry with me, especially since my dogs are still living.  They want my dogs dead.  Even though one of my dogs never touched their dog.  Even though their own dog did touch their other dog.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  To me it seems extreme and vengeful.  How do you blame a dog for being a dog?  I was at fault, do they want to put me down?  Probably.  That's not a very neighborly sentiment.

So many days present a mixed bag.  You get good (birthday wishes, chocolate covered strawberries, flowers, pizza, sunshine) and you get challenging (disobedient dogs, angry neighbors, tears, sorrow).  Sorting it all out becomes almost impossible.  Feeling thankful in difficult circumstances becomes tricky. 

There are so many lessons to be learned and truths to be recognized in each and every day.  Even when I'm not grateful for the specific circumstance I can be grateful that I've had the day to experience the good along with the bad.  I can be thankful that the blessings of grace and mercy are mine, even if they won't be coming from my neighbor.  I can be thankful.  Now, how long did it take me to choose gratitude?  Longer than it should have. 

Sometimes I can access grace quickly in bad situations.  Sometimes I wallow in the misfortune before I recognize that God is with me in all things, not just the easy things.  Thankfully, while I wallow, God is with me.  And that is most certainly for my good.

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