A Cute Dog, The Holy Spirit and an Elephant in the Room

elephant-in-the-room A Cute Dog, The Holy Spirit and an Elephant in the Room

There’s an elephant in the room. The problem we keep turning away from, feeling either powerless to solve it or unwilling to do the hard work necessary to put it behind us. Try as we might to ignore it, there comes a time when we either deal with it or get trampled underfoot. Recently, we confronted one of those elephants who could be ignored no longer.

Jennifer was talking to her friend one afternoon when the elephant moved into full view. She felt like a failure as a dog owner and what she needed to do came to her seemingly out of nowhere. Wanting nothing but the best for our five pound Shorkie named Cady Jane, she made a decision which led her to the computer to do something she’d only talked about doing in the past.

The Ballad of a Cute Dog

Cady Jane was notorious for peeing and pooping on floors and sometimes the living room carpet. Potty training didn’t seem to work. She barked incessantly when friends came over and often needed to be put in her carrier to calm down. Our son Jack played with her very infrequently. Neither Jennifer nor I could hold her for more than a few minutes without having an allergic reaction when was supposed to be hypo-allergenic.

With all this working against us, the question would often come up…”Why do we still own this dog?”

That day, Jennifer felt compelled to take action so she and her friend went to the computer and crafted a Craigslist ad. It went live and emails started pouring in. Cady Jane is quite a cutie and the price was right.

Several hours later, Jennifer decided to tell me what she’d done. I was surprised but supportive. I didn’t understand why she chose to act today but that was irrelevant, or so I thought at the time. I was curious if she’d talked it over with Jack first. I knew he’d be sad, even though he didn’t play with her much and regularly put up a fuss when asked to get her food or water.

Well…she hadn’t told him yet. So this is what the calm before the storm feels like.

Elephant in the Room – Now Hear This!

That evening, at bedtime, we talked to Jack about Cady Jane’s future. He was inconsolable. Ok, maybe he was embellishing a bit. He does that. Needless to say, his reaction caused a lot of conflict in our little family as we went to sleep that night.

Jack eventually went to his room but instead of going to sleep he started putting together a time capsule, complete with pictures of Cady Jane, so he’d remember her years from now. It was sweet but sad, at the same time. I was trying to empathize with Jack but I was also resentful because this whole episode could’ve been avoided had Jennifer told Jack her plans prior to posting the ad. Ok, maybe not avoided but at least I would’ve been at work and not had to deal with it.

The next morning was a Saturday and Jennifer, apparently feeling guilty, decided to let Cady Jane have some time off her tether. (She didn’t get to roam freely for fear of the deposits she may leave on the floors.) Cady Jane was a little angel. She only barked when she needed to go outside. She didn’t go upstairs. She didn’t run around the house like a ferret on speed.

“Who are you and what have you done with Cady Jane?” we thought to ourselves. We didn’t know she had it in her. This is how we’d always wanted her to act. Did she know the writing was on the wall? Maybe she could see the elephant in the room too.

Jennifer started having second thoughts about posting the ad and I couldn’t help but agree with her. That’s when the second elephant entered the room. A woman was coming to see Cady Jane at 2pm. Before this remarkable turn of events, Jenny had started answering the many emails inquiring about Cady Jane. She’d identified with one particular woman who had a situation that seemed ideal for Cady Jane’s well being. She would probably be “the one” but the clock was ticking.

2pm arrived. No ring of the doorbell. No unfamiliar car driving down our street. Maybe she was running a little late. Jennifer’s phone dinged, the signal for a new text message. Something had come up at that last minute and the woman couldn’t make it today. Jennifer promptly rescheduled for 2pm on Sunday.

I knew we were both thinking the same thing, at that point. If Cady Jane continues acting like this, it’ll be difficult to part with her. She was doing everything we hadn’t expected her to do. She was being a good dog, a dog we could trust off her tether. This is all we’d ever wanted from the beginning.

The Holy Spirit Brings Mercy and Healing

Sunday morning came and we let Cady Jane go outside to do her business. She barked at the back door when she was ready to come in. We allowed her to roam free again and she was just as good as the day before. Why hadn’t we trusted her sooner? Nevertheless, we were going to have a visitor at 2pm and a decision needed to be made.

Jennifer looked at me and asked me what I thought. I said, “Let’s keep her.” Jennifer texted the woman and canceled the appointment. I’m sure she was disappointed but not nearly as much as we would’ve been had we let Cady Jane go. Jennifer deleted the Craigslist ad and put this two days of drama behind us.

What a clear example of the Holy Spirit at work. We were a house suffering. Jennifer and I were stuck, reluctant to trust Cady Jane yet afraid of letting her go. Cady Jane was suffering, attached to her tether day in and day out. Jesus poured out His infinite mercy upon our family which led to Jennifer taking action. We learned our assumptions about Cady Jane were totally wrong, something we wouldn’t have learned on our own. Now there’s one less elephant in the room. We can see every day how much happier our little Cady Jane is with her new found freedom. Our God is so good to us.

Todd K Marsha is a Catholic husband and father living in suburban Kansas City. Through his writing charism he tells the powerful story of his conversion to the faith, his triumphs through God's grace, and his continuing struggle to live a more Christ-like life.

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