There was a bit of fear – fear of pain and loss – that went through my heart tonight. My wife told me something about Cash – our dog (he’s named in honor of Johnny). We are not sure – totally not sure – but he may not be well. He’s been acting weird lately. Last night he started coughing. Sherry described it like an asthma attack. A friend told us that it could be nothing. But it could be something serious. If it is – there is nothing that can be done really.
There is probably nothing wrong with our dog. But that didn’t stop me from going there. At the moment that Sherry told me about Cash I had a simultaneous flash backs – one to the far past and the other to the not so distant.
I was about ten years old when my family got another dog. We had a Great Dane when I was a toddler. Preacher was his name. He got that name because he was all black except for a small white spot on his neck. He was an awesome dog. After he died we didn’t get another dog for some time – and when we did he was a dandy – a Golden Retriever. He was beautiful. But I gave him a terrible name – Abraham – maybe for Lincoln – I really don’t know (I was ten).
I played with him a lot. He was just a puppy – still growing – still all puppy. But one day when he was hit by a truck. He ran out into the street and the driver could do nothing. It was terrible. I remember kneeling by this puppy – crying my eyes out – crushed by the reality of something so horrible I can’t describe it. But I had sort of forgotten that – until tonight.
I had a few dogs after that – but I didn’t dare really love them like I did Abraham. In fact, even after we got Cash – our first family dog – I kept my distance. I did not want to like – let alone – love that dog. But Cash is a sweet dog. He just wants to be loved and played with. And does he get the love from three boys. And, I hate to say it – I kind love the dog too. I didn’t mean to – I didn’t want to – but he’s worn me down. Which brings me to the second flash back.
A few weeks ago I made a not so nice remark about Cash. Actually, it was awful. We just moved into a new place and Cash took off across the yard near the street – too close to the street. In a way of self-protection I mumbled something like, “well it wouldn’t bother me if he got hit by a car (total lie).” I said it to myself but then I heard these words behind me, “It would bother me.” I turned to see my eleven-year-old son walk back into the house.
These are proud parenting moments ones that will mark me forever as the world’s best dad.
Those words came back to me tonight as I thought about Cash and thought about my sons dealing with the loss of a dog that they love. It crushed me to think how foolish I have been with this dog. My sons love this dog. He’s a part of their stories. He matters to them like Abraham did to me. And, he matters to me.
I do not want to see my children hurt. I do not want my own words to mark them. I do not want anything to happen to Cash because I do not want to see the hurt and pain in the eyes of three boys.
I love my sons very much. I’d do anything for them. I want to I help my sons grow into men – godly men. I can’t believe that I didn’t apologize to my son after I said that. That is exactly what I want to do and should have done. I want to explain to him why I would say something so terrible.
It is important that my sons see me love something like a dog. It is important for them to see me and hear me talk about pain and sorrow and suffering. It is just as important for them to hear me share about the hope in Christ that I have. It is important for them to hear me apologize, to repent and to love and be loved in return.
What sort of impact will it have for my sons to hear their dad share about his pain and at the same time point them toward his place of hope and assurance? I’m betting a huge impact. I know it’ll have a big impact on me.
I’m hoping nothing is wrong with our dog. I’m hoping that my sons don’t have to face something very painful. I’m hoping the dog ate a napkin or something. For once I’d be happy about that. I’m also wondering if dogs accept apologies. I’ll tell him I’m sorry right after I talk to my sons.