Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Big Day

Saturday, August 20, was a memorable one for our household. Bandit, our 7 month-old puppy, decided to make his bid for freedom around 1 p.m. He dug under the downspout extension, and crawled out a 6-inch gap and took off. Mind you, the night before he had broken the ring that held his tag and dog license. So he was completely footloose and fancy free.

My wife called me at the office to see if I had the dog and then discovered the escape. When I arrived at home my wife, daughter and daughter's friend were out riding their bikes and calling Bandit's name.

From about 2 p.m. until 7:30 we continued looking for him, broken only long enough to attend an open house for a couple that eloped in June. As the day wore on, my attitude toward this moronic mutt became progressively less charitable, especially as I tired of sitting on a bicycle seat.

Our break came around 7 when a lady said she had seen him downtown on Front Street. I rode down and went into a restaurant to see if they had seen him. It turns out that they had seen him running in and out of traffic and tried to tie him up. When that failed, they took him to a nearby park where the Monroe Fire Department was holding a children's event. A kind fireman took him to the Humane Society, where we picked him up the next day. Many thanks to Julie and her staff at the Monroe Street Grill and the Monroe Fire Department for taking care of our wayward canine.

But as my attitude darkened, the Lord reminded me of the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:4: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? I have never lost a sheep, heck, I don't even like sheep. But I do know that in the bottom of my heart, I was sick with the thought that he might be hurt, dead or taken. And I'm really glad to have him back.

If I can be that happy about my wayward dog, how much more joy is there in heaven when a wayward soul returns home? And how do I put that joy in my heart for the souls that return? That is where I need God's grace to celebrate with others. I get so caught up in my own world that I don't appreciate what God is doing around me. Just what he has done for me lately.

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