Today (Friday) after the doctor and a bite of lunch, Ebony and I went outside for him to chase the squirrel out of the yard and me to take some photos of everything blooming.
As I was trying to frame a shot of him sweeping the perimeter of the property for signs of Dr. Miao and her evil hench-cats,* I noticed a smear of yellow-green pollen on his shoulder. He looked up at me from behind the compost heap, dropped the other shoulder, and proceeded to roll on the ground.
So much for the Kodak moment.
I loudly made the noise we use (what must the neighbors think?) when we want him to stop doing what he's doing and not do it anymore. It's like a vocal imitation of the game show "Thank-you-for-playing-but-please-try-again" buzzer: annoying, and intentionally so. Actually, it's also similar to the end-of-cycle buzzer on my dryer. Hmmm.
He looked at me, continued rolling for 2 more seconds, and then stood and bounced toward me, clearly pleased with himself for having rolled in what was apparently cat poop. Plain dirt just doesn't smell that bad.
As we headed toward the shower, my Self is talking to me, "All right, then, Miss Gratitude-Is-Good-Medicine. What are you going to do with this one?" She was smirking; I could just feel it.
And then I remembered Betsie ten Boom thanking God for the fleas in the barracks of the German concentration camp where she was interned with her sister Corrie. Later, long after her prayer of thanks, they learned that the flea infestation kept the guards out of the bunkhouse and thus left them free to hold prayer meetings and Bible studies unmolested.
And I remembered our other two dogs, how ill they were at the end, how they couldn't even get out to the grass unassisted, let alone explore and roll in anything stinky.
When I refuse to give thanks, to practice eucharisteo as Ann says, I take for granted that "different" would be "easier." I complain about washing cat poop off the dog because in my entitlement I assume that the alternative would be the dog staying on the grass and not the dog being too weak to misbehave. Or the dog being gone entirely. I complain about the fleas because I don't see the benefit God knows and I don't. In short, I don't trust that He knows and gives what is best for me at that moment, and "best" means "best designed to conform me to the image of Christ," not "best designed to gratify my every whim."
I remember all this, I look up, and I say, "OK, God. Thank You for Ebony rolling in cat poop."
After all, it could have been skunk.
*Dr. Miao has been seen but so far evaded the security cameras.
Thank You, Father, for. . .
~a healthy, curious, active dog
~Your sense of humor
~grace to laugh at myself
~ability to bathe him myself when I needed to
~Ebony's compliance to come into the shower and submit to a washing without bellyaching
~stink washing down the drain with the suds
~last week's marquee medical appointment was with my favorite doctor
~the encouragement of him telling me, "Patients like you are why we do this." (Really??!!)
~finding good loose tea with a current date on clearance for less than half price
~the woman at the taco drive-through seeing my braids and not the grey at my temples and calling me "baby girl." Some people would find this condescending; I am not one of those people. After all, this is Texas. "Honey," "sweetie," and "darlin'" are just the singular forms of "y'all."
~a quiet afternoon of reading on the sofa
~feeling Ebony against my legs, twitching and breathing more deeply in his dreams
~husband taking care of me on oral surgery day
~kindness of elder's wife bringing supper to us afterward
~first job interview for unemployed loved one
~commenters who show me God's love
(from the gratitude list, #4269-85)