I got two new dogs this year – That makes eight, so I am now classified as insane. But I want to tell you about one. She is a mixed Alaskan dog that resembles an artic wolf.
When I can, I do grooming for the SPCA. It’s my way of saying thanks to the Creator for being able to do the work I do. This dog is one the shelter sent. She came in matted from head to tail. Filthy! Stink! She had sores on her neck from being tied with a tight collar and flies had laid eggs in her wounds. When I called her, she ran away. She was shy and afraid of being petted. But when I looked into her eyes, there was still a spark. The shelter had sent her hoping she’d have a better chance getting a home if she was cleaned up. She never left.
I had her about a week. The more secure she felt, the more her personality came out, and I started realizing something: She knew things:
She would sit, Lay down and stay on command.
She was housebroken.
And she gave great delight in shaking paws.
Someone, sometime in her life, probably when she was a puppy, loved and spent time with her.
One of my employees asked, “How can someone love something, then neglect it so badly?”
Answer: HUMAN NATURE. And it is. We all do it to some degree in some area of our lives.
How many friendships are lost through simple neglectfulness. A forgotten birthday or anniversary. A phone call never gotten around to.
How many newlyweds, who start out walking hand in hand, after 10 years and 2 kids, don’t even talk anymore.
How many children, wanted and planned for, get ignored when coming home with a picture drawn or a B+ on a test?
How many people feel separated from their Creator, because they never take the time for a daily prayer.
We always have the best intentions. No one starts out a relationship intending to abuse and neglect. But we often get so distracted with the minor details of day to day living, that our priorities get forgotten.
When I first opened Red Creek Wildlife Center, I decided it would be dedicated to the Creator. God had given me a gift with animals and all I wanted was to use that gift to care for them. I soon realized though, how easy it would be to get lost in the details of running such an organization. Permits, Regulations, Funding, Volunteers.
Neglectfulness is human nature. I didn’t want to loose sight of my original goals. I had to set up a reminder, something that would keep my priorities in focus.
The very first thing I do every morning is log into my computer. So I set up a screen saver, a scrolling marquee, stating my purpose: “PRAISE THE CREATOR BY CARING FOR HIS CREATION”
I was soon to find out that “His Creation” was not just referring to His animals. Hand in hand with animals goes kids. Last summer we started an Explorer Post and I had 5 or 6 teenagers at my home. Those 5 have turned into 20, and there is rarely peace at my house anymore. Working with the animals, these kids have found friendship, acceptance, purpose and self esteem. They have found themselves.
Sometimes it gets overwhelming and sometimes I just want a normal life, but then I see my screen saver and I remember my original purpose.
Part of the nature of neglectfulness is this: Familiarity bring blindness. Even our reminders can become commonplace, we don’t see them anymore, so occasionally I change the color or font of my screensaver. And that scrolling marquee has become such a blessing in my life.
Mondays and Tuesdays are very busy days for me. I work 12 – 13 hours each day and by Tuesday night I’m beat. Tuesday, August 11, I was getting done about 8:30 and at 9 there was a movie on Cable that I had seen the previews for and wanted to watch. All I was looking forward to was quick shower and hitting the couch to watch the movie.
At 8:00 Mom called, had broken her glasses, could I come fix them. Now Wednesday is my day off and I was planning on stopping by Mom’s early the next morning – and – I really wanted to see this movie. But she really wanted to see me.
I really debated this one. Mom was in her seventies, in a wheelchair. She was needy and she was declining. But—– I really wanted to watch that movie.
I was just about to ask if it could wait till morning and I looked across the room and saw the screen saver. Well Ok, I would miss, what? 15 minutes of the movie? Then mom goes, “Well, as long as you’re coming over, can you pick me up—–?” Well, there goes the movie.
I spent a nice 2 hours with mom. We joked, we laughed, I fixed her glasses. When I left, I gave her a hug and kiss and told he that I loved her. I got home close to 11. Well the movie was over and I went to bed around 12.
3:14 that morning, mom died.
And you know what?
I don’t even remember the name of the movie.
When we are aged and we reflect upon our lives, there will be many joys to remember—– But there will also be many regrets.
Guaranteed, we will not ever regret:
dishes not always being done or the bed made every day.
the car was always serviced just so.
We will not regret a missed soap opera or movie,
or a bill paid late.
We will not regret a video game not played or a score not topped.
What we will regret is
a marriage broken,
a child, bitter because of not enough time spent.
Yea, there are so many things we need and want to do every day. And sometimes there’s just not enough time in a day. But at the end of the day if something HAD to be neglected make sure it wasn’t somebody that loves and needs you.