Being in the right place at the right time can seem like an intelligent, purposeful thing we must do. But often it happens when we are bumbling around or flying out the door to a destination and God stops you in your tracks. It's just that when God helps you be in the right place at the right time, you often look like you're simply late for an appointment, or falling apart, messing up your organized day.
Yesterday, a day when I felt a black cloud over me but didn't want to dwell on why, I came home from the library, started to carry groceries I had bought earlier up to the house, got inside, stumbling around, trying to find room on the counter for all my bags, my purse, my dangling keys. The phone rings and it's my husband.
"Honey, Abby wound up taking the bus home, and she needs you to pick her up at the bus stop right now"- which was a drop off point ten minutes from our house. As he's talking, Abby calls me on my cell phone and I switch to her, "Yes, Abby, I'm on my way right now!" and I run out, locking the door behind me, only to get to my car and find out I have locked my keys inside the house.
To make a long story short, I fortunately had my cell phone on me and called Bill and sent him racing to meet the bus in time, while I stood outside and wandered around, trying to avoid Harry's poops all over the ground. I knew I would have about twenty to thirty minutes of doing nothing, so I wandered around the yard, near the woods. And wandered towards the front of the house...and then I saw them.
Two adorable little dogs , with the tags on their collars jangling like Christmas bells, were running down the street- in the middle of the road. Cars came whizzing around the blind corner we live on and narrowly missed one dog. I tried to call the dogs.
"Come here, sweet doggies," I called out. "Come on," I invited them- in my most inviting tone of voice. But they weren't buying. And they were not street smart either. They zig -zagged over the road, confused, frightened, and maybe a little happy for the adventure they were on- unaware they were in danger of losing their lives.
They took off in the other direction, now going up the street towards the main road- a busy, highly trafficked road where many accidents occurred- even without the addition of two sweet but stupid dogs prancing along.
I called Animal control and got the pager. Punched in my number. I get a call back and I yell out "Hurry!" and proceed to give him my street address and the details of these two little lost dogs.
"Oh, no" he says and then the officer is on his way. I can't see the two little dogs anymore and I'm guessing they are near the busy main road. I 'm standing on the hill in front our house and see my husband's work truck coming down the street. He has Abby with him, and as they get out of the truck, I tell them what has happened.
It all ended, miraculously, on a good note. I say miraculously because when the Animal Control Officer kindly called me back to relay the owner had gotten her dogs back safe and sound, he proceeded to share with me that this morning's incident with another dog in the street did not end so nicely.
Because I locked myself out of the house, all in a dither, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time to help save two little dogs' lives. For dog lovers out there, this is a big deal. For the more rational of sorts, this is not life changing news.
But let me tell you what I learned from this. This morning I chose to read some Scripture from Ecclesiastes- my book of choice when life is confusing, I'm not reading the signals from God too well, and I want to know if it's really worth all the effort I am putting into this thing called life. I turn the page and read this verse:
"But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion." Eccl.9:4
During the day yesterday, the fight had gone out of me. I can't tell you all the other circumstances as to why, but let's just say that I was aware that I had some influences in my life who were not "for" me. I did not feel like a roaring ,majestic lion yesterday. I felt like a pillow that had lost most of its stuffing- flat and worn out.
Then this episode with these adorable but confused little dogs happens. And God tells me something in all this: First, that I WAS in the right place at the right time.
And secondly, that it's better to be a living dog- maybe a little dumb at times as to safely navigating the roads of life. But at least I was alive. This world's exploits are for the living. And a living dog is better than a dead lion.
That's for sure.