It may have only been 5:30 a.m., but I am already at my computer getting ready for the day. Although I would have preferred to still be in my warm bed, my mind had other plans. That evening I was leading a discussion on “The Perfect Life,” and I wanted to review my notes.
Only moments into reading, I hear Teddy bark . . . and then, another bark. Holding my breath, I wait – hoping that he would settle back to sleep.
All is quiet. Then, another, “Woof. Woof.”
My quiet morning had dissolved. A barking dog might be a good alarm clock, but my husband would prefer to sleep for another couple of hours. Since I am already awake, I have no choice but to convince Teddy to be quiet.
Struggling to get out of my chair, I grab onto my walker and roll to Teddy’s bedroom (the large bathroom on the first floor). I tell my 15-year-old dog to be quiet.
“Hush,” I say as he wags his tail at me. “Be quiet.”
Just as I manage to get back to my chair and sit down, I hear his short bark, pause, and another bark. I know if I let him out of his bedroom, he will bark at the squirrels having their breakfast at the bird feeders in the back yard.
So, I whisper, “Teddy, quiet.”
“Woof, woof,” Teddy replies.
After a half-an-hour of repeated trips and corrections, I labor out of my chair one more time. Thinking that maybe he needs to relieve himself, I amble to the side door and let him out. Happily, Teddy takes off to roam our wooded back yard.
Giving him a few moments, I call Teddy to come back in the house. I get no response. Each minute I lean on my walker calling Teddy feels like an hour. I continue to get no response. Because it is 42 degrees outside, I cannot leave the door open. The morning has taken a toll on my body, and I can feel it starting to quit on me. I don’t know what to do.
I wonder, “Should I just leave him outside?” Just as I begin to think this is the best solution, Teddy comes around the bend and stands about 15 feet away from me.
“Teddy, come,” I command several times.
Finally, Teddy decides to comply and trots over to me. Getting halfway through the threshold, he changes his mind, turns around, and bolts out the door. He scampers 10 feet away, stands erect and calls out, “Woof, woof.”
I have now made matter worse. Not only am I concerned about Teddy waking my husband, but I also have my neighbors sleep to consider. In my frustration, I decide that I can walk down the stairs and get Teddy.
“It is only three stairs and 10 feet,” I tell myself.
Letting go of my walker, I shuffle out the door and grab the handrail. As I manage to get down one stair, my body has had enough and, luckily, just sits down. In the meantime, Teddy continues to bark.
It is 6:15 a.m., I am sitting on my stairs, in my pajamas, in the cold, and sobbing. Teddy barks. I cry some more. Teddy barks some more.
A loop of thoughts keep running through my mind, “What am I going to do? Dennis is asleep on the second floor on opposite side of the house. I am getting colder.”
I try pulling myself up. . .three times. I cry. . .three times.
“Okay, God, I get it. Here I am, trying to do it all on my own. I do believe that I have the perfect life. Not because my life is perfect or I am perfect, but because You are Perfect. I need Your help.”
I grab onto the newel cap and pull myself up. Suddenly, I am standing on solid ground. With shivering legs and cold hands, I cling to the posts. Each stair a struggle; I climb the three steps.
Leaving Teddy, I close the door. It is now 7:00 a.m. Shivering, I shuffle to the stair lift and ride to the second floor. I grab my walker from the landing and open the bedroom door.
“Teddy is outside barking. I crumbled on the stairs trying to get him. Please bring that dog in the house,” I tell Dennis.
He immediately jumps out of bed. Covering me up and tucking me in, he asks me if I am okay.
“Yes,” I reply. “Everything is okay. Thank God.”
As I fall asleep, I say, “Thank You, God, for Your Perfection and for my perfect life.”
“My help is enough for you; for my strength attains its perfection
in the midst of weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9, NCV)