Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Mike Stoops, my next door neighbor, had a beautiful cocker spaniel named Sally. When Sally had a litter of pups, Mike and I could not wait to hold them and play with them. I remember lying on the ground with those puppies jumping all over us, yapping and yipping, licking and nibbling our ears and faces as our giggles bubbled uncontrollably from way down deep in our carefree childhood hearts. There is something almost magical about eight-year-old boys and puppies.
After school one afternoon, I was looking out of the big window in our den that overlooked our back yard and the acres and acres of Mr. Early’s pastures. My dad called that window a picture window. Many are the times I saw him stand with a cup of coffee in his hand looking out of that window watching a sunset. It was probably his favorite thing about that house.
As I looked out of the window, I saw the puppies playing in the backyard next door; and the urge to play with them was irresistible. I headed for the back door, telling my mom that I was going outside. “No problem,” she responded. I later wished that she had been right.
Out of the door my steps assumed laser-beam purpose and I headed straight to Mike’s back yard. He wasn’t home, but he wouldn’t care if I played with the pups. All those pups climbing over me— just me—seemed like heaven. They nibbled at my “tenny shoes” biting the laces and chewing on the hems of my britches, which is what I called my jeans.
I heard mom call; I had to go.
As I started home, the puppies followed. I told them to go back. They didn’t. I picked up the pace, but they ran after me, still biting my laces and the jeans around my ankles. By the time I got to the big picture window behind my house, I was panicked. The puppies had to go home. Then I tripped over one. When I hit the ground, they were on me, nibbling and licking; but I wasn’t laughing. What had been fun had now become aggravation. As I was scrambling to my feet, I was yelling at those pups to go home. They still didn’t. I went from aggravated to angry. I commenced to kicking and yelling at them until they finally turned tail and started running home.
But I wasn’t through. Just to finish the job, I picked up a handful of rocks from our driveway and threw them at the puppies with all my eight-year-old might.
I don’t know exactly how it happened, but one of those rocks went haywire, and instead of going toward the pups, found its line of flight through Dad’s picture window.
Unfortunately, our sinful nature doesn’t disappear just because we grow up. Sometimes as adults, sometimes as parents, our responses can go beyond correction to carnage. We may not break windows, but we can break hearts. The stakes are much higher.
Puppies are going to be puppies. Children are going to be children.
Father, help us as adults to be adults, to be mature, to reflect Your nature . . . to our pups.