Just the Facts: Good, Bad, and Oh, So Fun

Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’’

I read this verse in a new way this week. My fury kid, Dash, was attacked and nearly killed by a neighbor’s dog. I now understand the compassion Heavenly Dad has for the “least of these.”

I ponder this verse as I sit in my hotel room in Chantilly Virginia, with a new awareness. One week ago today, the night of Father’s Day, the neighbor‘s dog came across the street, scooped up my Dashy, shook him like a ragdoll, and threw him down—twice!

When I looked into the scared, confused, and pained eyes of my little fury boy, my heart hurt. His side was blowing up like a balloon and sounds of crackling and churning were coming from his tummy. He looked at me in despair as if to say,”Please fix me, Mom, and make the pain go away!” But I couldn’t. I called my vet and the police and rushed my inflated Dash to someone with the know how to do just that.

How to transport him to that person was a challenge as even touching him caused him to cry out in pain. With him crying, I gently scooped him up under his legs, trying to avoid his swollen abdomen, and placed him in a padded laundry basket, rushing out the door to get help.

Getting him out of that basket was another story. He had continued filling while in transit and I could no longer lift him. Our vet was wonderful, coming from home, helping me tip the basket until Dash could waddle out. A couple of X-rays later and I sighed with relief as it was air and not blood filling my 11 pound mini Dachshund. A compression wrap and what looked like needles to blow up sports balls, strategically placed to let the air out, and he was able to at least lay down. Unfortunately, the long night was just beginning as there was air around his heart.

A week later and the prognosis is good. He has a long recovery ahead but the distance from where we started on this journey to where we are now is immeasurable.

Speaking of journeys, we have one we are talking about, don’t we?

Shortly after Mr. Michigan sent me the random smile, he said he wanted to come visit me. Hmmmm. We were going to meet in the middle EARLY in this friendship/relationship/thing so how would driving all the way here ever work out??? Not being shy or beating around the bush (that only wastes time) I asked him that very question. He then said something that surprised me,”I have to. You are the one I’ve been praying for.”

I’ll admit, if that was a pick up line it was the most original from any of the other ones I’ve heard, and the best. It worked. We scheduled for him to come to Nappanee the next Saturday morning.

Admittedly, that was an odd week of conversation. We knew each other’s love of Heavenly Dad and that was the most attractive thing about each other. There was also the common ground of sports. Was that enough? This was the longest interaction before a meet-n-greet so was it too long? I’d find out shortly.

After googling him to make sure he wasn’t a serial killer, wanted by the law, or married (😳), I gave information to Taylor, as a back up, incase I came up missing (You can never be too careful). He asked for my address and I gave it to him. I love Grace and she was not happy with that choice—honestly, she was right. For an extra measure of safety I should have given him a restaurant address.

Around 11 am on the first Saturday of November, there was a knock on my door and the pups went crazy. Not wanting to let this stranger, yet totally not, into my house I asked him to do what I have been wanting and waiting to do FOREVER:”Want to play ball?” He smiled and I grabbed the basketball. I stepped out the door and we walked the 10 steps to my hoop that had been sitting idle and lonely for years, the net half rotted and hanging loosely.

From the first game of horse I knew he was serious about basketball (yay!). We played additional games, awkwardly, as we were both avoiding physical touch as if the other had cooties or was radio active. Shocking as it sounds, that in itself caused laughter and joking. Of course with all sports comes trash talking (in the most respectful way possible), sports humor, and trivia. All in all, it was a blast…but all good things must come to an end. Now what😳?

“Gotta football?” Was Eric’s question that kept us talking and got him invited in to look for the long lost pigskin (that was actually a nerf). More chatting and picking on each other for good and bad throws, ok, so his were pretty much dead on and mine were like peewee league, but we both worked up an appetite.

“Want to walk uptown for coffee and lunch?” I asked. “My treat since you drove here.” and we were off. Do you like the way I still “slid” in the walking test(😉). Yes, he did great, me walking with my hands shoved into my pockets trying to figure out what the heck this dinner thing was going to be like and what we were going to talk about. In my mind I was wondering,”Am I doing this right???” and whispered a prayer to the one who had that answer.

Main Street Coffee smelled amazing! The brick walls, chalk board signs, and vintage pictures were welcoming without being stuffy and overbearing. We ordered our meals, me, white chili, him, some sorta of panini sandwich and then climbed the stairs. We trekked across the catwalk and settled into oversized leather chairs overlooking the town of Nappanee.

After just a moment or two of silence it felt like we both took a deep breath and stepped out of the meet-n-greet facade. What did he mean by,”I was praying for you?” How was I doing as a widow and what was I looking for? These questions along with stories of our journey to this point in time, with all of the ugliness, spilled out. No questions were out of bounds. Both offered honesty and transparency without judgment. Three hours later, give or take, we walked back to my house.

My fury kids, again going crazy with this stranger in the house and we made our way to the living room. At that moment Grace texted me something like, “Hey, how was your meet and greet?” I laughed as I read it to Eric and asked if I could snap a quick picture and text it to Grace.

We were so far apart he leaned in so I wouldn’t cut his head off in the picture.

I let her know he was still there and I think I told her I was still alive (lol). I love Grace and am blessed that she cared and cares enough to check on me.

Another two or three hours of chatting and Mr. Michigan was on his way home.

But where do we go from a meet-n-greet-turned-into-an-eight-hour-date? That my friend, is for another day.

Until next time: Blessings!

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