Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Chance for Grace

I wrote this piece several years ago---I post it today in memory of Chance 1996-2008

I need to confess up front that up until this particular day, I wasn’t fond of the dog. I mean, he is was too big to cuddle and was a bit unattractive; but Chance belonged to my youngest brother, Evan. He was a greyhound that Evan and his wife, Julia, adopted from greyhound rescue. Needless to say, I was pleased that upon their Thanksgiving visit to Decatur, Chance would not be staying at my house, but at my parents.

On the Friday following Thanksgiving, everyone in my family came to our house for Thanksgiving dessert. Because of my ungraciousness, Chance was not invited. Looking back, I should have set my feelings aside, been more hospitable and invited the dog, too. Perhaps none of this would have happened if I had been more charitable.

As the evening progressed, my parents decided to take my grandmother home. Evan and Julia planned to stay and watch a movie with us. You see, they had moved to Kansas City a few years and we rarely got to spend time with them. I was especially looking forward to our time together.

It wasn’t long after my parents left that the phone rang. On the other end I recognized my father’s anxious voice announcing that Chance had somehow escaped from his kennel and deposited his doggy-poo in the basement and wet on my parent’s bed. To make matters worse, he had eaten the entire bag of grandma’s biscuits.

Evan jumped up, set down the phone and headed for the door. Grabbing my gallon pail of Oxi-Clean and a coat, he was on his way, obviously ready to make restitution for the good dog gone wild.

As for me, I was infuriated. Chance’s naughty-doggy behavior had stolen precious time that I was to spend with my brother. I decided that I would not stand by and let this happen. I headed out the door straight to my parent’s house. I was determined to spend time with my brother, even if I had to clean up doggy-poo to do so.

I arrived at my parent’s house thirty minutes behind my brother. By the time I reached my destination, the excitement was over. Everything was cleaned up. All seemed calm. Chance was lying in the corner pensively reflecting on the day’s escapade.

What I saw next astonished me. Evan was sitting next to Chance, petting him, soothing him, and telling him what a good dog he was. There was no mention of the awful consequences of such destructive actions, no lecture about how his behavior affected other people in a negative way, and no lasting punishment for disobedience.

My attitude softened toward Chance that day. Suddenly, I saw this dog through the eyes of the one that loved him most. I saw grace pure and simple.

When others make a mess of things; when people are destructive with actions or words, I hope my love is great enough to grant the same amount of forgiveness that was afforded to a naughty greyhound. We all deserve a “Chance” for grace.

This I know for sure...


Lisa said...

What a beautiful picture of grace. Thanks for sharing this Marcia.

Evan and Julia said...

Thanks for writing this -- Chance certainly gave us many opportunities for grace in the 8 years he was with us. ;)