“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b NKJV
In the midst of mourning, you often can’t fathom how joy could possibly interrupt your grief. Back in January, we lost our beautiful Aussie to cancer. When my husband mentioned another dog, my son Josh and I vehemently opposed the idea. There was no room in our hearts for any dog except Dixie—and she was gone. A few months later, Josh mentioned if he ever got another dog, it’d be a black Lab. But he wanted to be working and settled in his own place before that happened. He was in no hurry to open his heart, nor commit himself, to caring for another pet.
Then early one Friday morning a few weeks ago, after a night of storms, Josh was relaxing on the couch in front of the TV. As a volunteer firefighter, he’d spent three hours during the night cutting up downed trees in our district. Suddenly, he heard a whimper and went to the front door to investigate.
“It’s a puppy!” He yanked open the door and ran down the sidewalk and around the corner to the garage where he’d seen it disappear.
Our garage was opened about a foot because, for some silly reason, wildlife have decided to adopt our garage as a nature conservatory. Unbeknownst to us until it was too late, a bird built a nest in one of Josh’s dirt-bike helmets, laid her eggs, and hatched them. So we couldn’t close the garage completely until the babies were ready to leave the nest. We won’t discuss the huge black snake who decided to visit, as well. J
Wet, shaken, and trying to bark like a dog ten times her size, the little black puppy finally allowed Josh to scoop her up. Her bark became a whimper as he cradled her in a towel and rubbed her dry. We fed and watered her and then discussed what to do.
I cautioned him not to become attached to her. “She looks like a purebred Lab, so she probably wasn’t dumped. She must live nearby because she’s too small to have walked far. Her owner will miss her.”
Josh agreed then loaded her in his truck to take her to our vet to see if she’d been chipped. She hadn’t.
He made fliers to put up in the neighborhood. He admitted he hoped the owners wouldn’t show. After all, what if her owner turned out to be a big, burly guy who treated her rough? (So much for my cautioning him not to fall for her. J) She was cute and wanted to be right where Josh was all the time.
By mid-afternoon the owner called, delighted and relieved her puppy was safe. Josh was disappointed, but he knew the angst of having a pet wander off. Dixie had done it more than once. He always said he didn’t want someone just taking her home without attempting to find her owners.
Before the owner came that afternoon, Josh tried not to show his disappointment and hugged the puppy good-bye. He said, “She’s reminded me of the joy of having a dog.”
The dog’s owner works at a local church. She and her boss had prayed that morning the puppy would be found by someone kind and gentle who would care for her. I jokingly said, “Yeah, Josh prayed the owner wouldn’t turn up.”
But we explained how we knew the right thing to do was to try to find her owners. During the conversation, we learned she was one of a litter of puppies that were actually Lab and German shepherd mix. The owner had given away the others but decided to keep the little pup because she was so cute.
The lady appreciated Josh’s honesty and willingness to do the right thing and said she might be willing to give the puppy to Josh. We all agreed to pray about what the best thing would be for all of us.
A week later, she called and offered the dog to Josh. I can’t say it’s been easy dealing with a puppy after having a mature, well-behaved dog like Dixie, but Josh is thrilled to have her. I’m thrilled to see his joy after such a hard loss five months ago. We still miss Dixie terribly, but little Macy has taught us that despite our grief, joy did come in the morning!
If you’re experiencing grief or dealing with a tough life situation, please know I’m lifting you up in prayer today. If you have a specific request, please leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. I’d be glad to pray for you! J
Have you ever experienced an unexpected joy? I’d love to hear about it!
© Laura Hodges Poole