By Richard Curtis
It is humbling to learn adult lessons in life from children and dogs.
When I was still single and had moved into my first house in a suburb of Houston I decided to take on the responsibilities of two stray puppies, Scooter and Sleeper. When I found them in a parking lot they could both fit in the palm of my hand and were so sickly the local veterinarian would not allow them in his office. He gave me medicine to give them.
As they grew they became outdoor dogs having the run of a large fenced in back yard. The only time they came indoors when I wasn’t home was during inclement weather. Rainstorms in Houston can be severe. My elderly neighbor called them “gully washers”.
One day when the forecast was for rain I left for work leaving Scooter & Sleeper inside. That night when I stepped off the bus near my house, the street was flooded. In my business suit and dress shoes I found myself wading through about a foot of water. I was already put out by my drenched shoes when I got to my front porch and unlocked and opened the door. There I found both dogs sitting on the couch. In front of them was the coffee table which now had one entire corner chewed off. I flew into an uncontrolled rage. A few moments later Scooter & Sleeper are huddled in a corner, shivering with fear. I am in the opposite corner of the room, my heart pounding in my chest. I am in shock how in only a few moments I had verbally and physically abused them. I felt terrible.
As I stood there, racked with guilt and shame and my heart still pounding, I bent down and clapped my hands as I often did to get their attention. Immediately, they stopped shivering and began trying to run to me as quickly as they could. I can still remember the sound of their paws slipping and sliding on the hardwood floor. I had been forgiven.
What a wonderful sound that was!
But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. Psalm 130:4 (NIV)