Oranges, reds and blacks popping into decor. Ghostly puns and pumpkin spiced everything. Those golden fall sunsets walking hand in hand with your loved one. Friday night lights and Hocus Pocus. I absolutely adore this time of year. There’s something about October that draws me in.
This October is no different. With its brilliant hued leaves falling from trees and an intense desire to wear boots and scarves bubbling up from the depths of my heart, it is evident that this is my season. It’s here. It’s also brought some new uniquely Fall 2017 things with it – post-Harvey Houston, settling into our first ever home as new home owners, celebrating a year of marriage, the Astros going to the World Series, and generally settling into a new season of life. I guess that’s where I’ve found myself today. Lost in the hustle and bustle of it all.
Hustle + Bustle
I’ve never been a memorizer. I can cram the night before the test and do well. Ask my about individual facts days later? Forget it. I can give you the big picture of whatever the subject is. I struggle at memorizing scripture and even where things are in the Bible no matter how many times I’ve read a passage. Sometimes as time goes on and it’s been awhile between readings of certain passages, they become buried in my mind.
Over the past week or two, one of those passages has been unearthed for me. I’d heard it touched on here and there in small ways but didn’t really speak to me until this weekend. It’s the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. It’s the age old question of which one am I? Am I the Martha who has a never ending to do list as she runs around trying to check another thing off no matter what is going on around her? Am I the Mary who is willing to set aside the less important for the most important – sitting in the presence of Jesus? Let that sink in… Which one are you?
Vietnamese Coffee + Interrupted Plans
Last Saturday, I was the Martha. I had my to do list and an intense plan to get a million things checked off from household chores to simple texts needing to be sent. I had finishing books on there, blogging, getting ahead with Christmas shopping, organizing my closet and so much more. Some of this is extremely time sensitive for my sanity. (Excuse me, Closet, you’ve got to do something with yourself!) Others are just ridiculous things that I want to do because watching at least one Halloween movie on Netflix really isn’t a top priority.
My Friday afternoon and night was full speed ahead as I tried to outdo even Martha herself. I got up on Saturday and had several things already crossed off my to do list before Rick woke up. He desperately wanted to try a little Vietnamese restaurant near our house. Honestly, it was going to cut into my list. They did have Vietnamese iced coffee and I’m a total sucker for it so I obliged. I’d go eat an early lunch with him but then it was back to my list.
We had a half an hour to kill before the restaurant would open. Rick suggested we take a lap around the trail behind our house. That sounded awesome. (And it was on the list!) That’s where my entire day changed and the reality of that once again unearthed passage would sit heavy on my heart.
Rest + Reassurance
While on the trail, there was a bicycle accident with a woman who was trying to coordinate a really big dog on a leash and a tiny little one in a basket. We were on our way to help her wrangle them back home when we saw one of our neighbors. He was trailing behind two meandering dogs. We didn’t know the neighbor so at first glance, they just seemed to be out on a walk. When we got closer the neighbor asked us if we knew them. We didn’t.
We went on our way but something prompted me to turn around. Rick went ahead to return our other neighbor and her two canine friends home. I chatted with the neighbor as I learned more about the two dogs he’d been following around the neighborhood. He had a dog and couldn’t take those two in. We had a free backyard, and so we moved these two to our house. I watched them come in and plop down on our hard tile floor. They reeked of weariness as they gave a new definition to dog-gone tired.
New things were added to my list as I rushed out to the store to get some food as Rick tried to coax them into drinking some water. As I walked around the home trying to “get things done”, it just seemed to provide more anxiety in the home for all of us. I finally decided to put almost everything on that to-do list off for the day. It was then as I watched their weary bodies resting up that I saw myself reflected back at me. I was weary and still am, yet I continue to run around and try to get things done. Sinking into the couch, the story of Martha and Mary sunk into my soul. My mind dredged up what I read the night before as part of the reading I tried to get off my to-read list. The irony of it being on sabbath and rest has not alluded me one bit.
If nothing else, these two have slowed me down. Reminded me that rest is okay. There’s no grace on my to-do list, but there is grace in my life. I just have to intentionally give grace to myself even as I strive to be “perfect” and “put together,” which is really what that to-do list comes down to.
Part of being okay with putting things off is recognizing that with freely given grace to stop the hustle and just sit, rest and be in relationship with Jesus. Two words sprang to my mind a little while ago that seem to fit here. Safe and loved. It’s hard to extend grace when you’re not feeling safe or loved, whether it’s external for someone else or you’re just being too hard on yourself.
Before coming over to write this, I reminded Oakley, the labrador/golden retriever, that she was safe and loved. Everything would be okay. I sat repeating those words over her for a few minutes. In the midst of writing this, Scout, the boxer mix, jumped up out of nowhere seemingly alarmed. I repeated the same sentiment over her for a bit.
Safe + Loved
7 years ago in October, my dad and I adopted my dog, Clyde. He was a fantastic dog. He was there for me through some tough, heartbreaking moments. Weeks before he passed away, I was watching Homeward Bound with my husband. Growing up in the 90’s, that was one of those movies that we were watching for nostalgia, but I knew it would break my heart. I hated the fact that those dogs and cat were separated from their beloved family and cried at the end of the movie. I loved Clyde and couldn’t imagine being separated from him, whether it was by location or in death. A few weeks later, he passed away. What I do know is that when he was with me, he was safe and loved. I repeatedly rest in that when waves of grief wash over me.
I’m a dog lover. Since then, it’s been a natural question for many to ask me when I’d get a new dog. My husband, Rick, has longed for a dog for years. In the past few months, I couldn’t even begin to entertain the idea. Even now as I write this, tears are welling up in my eyes. I miss my friend, Clyde. I miss his quirky little habits, and I still find myself looking for him at my mom’s house. The idea of getting dogs were not novel to me, but I haven’t been ready yet. I need for the pain to be less searing.
Here it is, October, a few months after Cylde’s death and now with two dogs sleeping nearby. It’s a tad ironic. I didn’t feel like I was ready, but I guess the timing is here. Honestly, I don’t know if God didn’t place dogs in our lives with us like this that I would have ever said I’d been ready. We asked around, and they are not chipped. It seems that Rick and I have become puppy parents. I’ve been followed around all day by these two, who I guess call me mom now. Oakley + Scout, know that you are safe and loved just as Clyde was.
Update as of October 24 at 9:30am
We got a phone call early this morning from Scout and Oakley’s real owners. We have given these two our hearts which are now breaking. We know that reuniting them with their family is the best thing for them. My last sentence from this blog will forever ring true. They are safe and loved. No matter what happens as our hearts grieve, that is the important thing.