No matter what...
No matter what, no matter how many times she goes out in the frigid Charlotte afternoon, no matter how short her escapades out there are, no matter how many times she comes back inside, shivering and dripping wet, this silly little dog of mine still stands for inordinate amounts of time, staring up at the door handle, hoping someone will let her out.
"This time," her eager eyes seem to say, "I will stay out there for a long time and have fun and I promise I won't come back to the door almost instantaneously, barking and scratching and pleading to be let back into the cozy warmth of this lovely kitchen. I swear. I promise. I won't ever bother you again. For real, for real this time."
So we let her out.
And she comes back to the door. Quickly.
Barking and begging.
Those little eyes glazed over with frosty fright.
So we let her back in.
And the charade, the dance, the letting out and letting in, continues.
Several times daily.
She forgets. We forget.
She pleads. We give in.
On and on.
That dumb little dog is sooooooo much a reflection of me.
Wanting out. Wanting back in.
Pleading and promising and leaving and returning.
New escape plans.
Renewed whimpering for restoration.
Thanks be to God for grace and mercy and forgiveness.
Thanks be to everyone else who has forgiven me and
loved me and readmitted me
after my much touted, later denied wandering and going astray.
Like my silly little dog,
all my unreliable friends,
my many imperfect family members,
and my own silly, unreliable, imperfect, splendidly hypocritical self,
we all deserve another chance to try again.
To mess up again and be welcomed home again and again.
And a chance after that.
Perhaps we don't deserve more chances at all.
Perhaps we have used up all our chances.
But thanks be to God and all the folks out there that have given me chance after chance,
that's exactly what we get.
No matter what...