This afternoon was brightened considerably by a surprise visit from my old boss… This guy retired almost 3 years ago now and used to be my favourite person to grab an early morning cup of tea, chat and bit of wisdom from. He feels quite fatherly and is honestly one of the nicest people I have ever worked with.
He also loves boxer dogs. Like, really loves them. His office used to proudly display a dog that he referred to with the fondness of a third son rather than an animal!
Anyway, he swung by for a surprise visit this afternoon. I was mid way through a ‘Google hangout’ catch-up with some colleagues when my office door opened… And in bounded a crazy, bouncy boxer puppy… With a tail-wag so strong that she could clear a whole table in 5 seconds flat. Seriously, this dog was crazy.
And the only thought that came into my mind was, ‘I only know one person who would think it totally appropriate to bring a crazy boxer puppy into an office on a Friday afternoon….’ And presumptions completely correct, my old boss was standing just around the corner. I love surprise visits and catch ups, so this was a wonderful afternoon procrastination from the admin I would have otherwise been absorbed in.
But the funny thing, was this crazy dog.
I need to backtrack a little for you to fully appreciate the story. Today saw us have our office carpets professionally cleaned for the first time in about 5 years. The guys took hours on it with their fancy-looking-cleaning machines. And at the end of a few hours hard graft, the carpets smelt, looked and felt fresher than I’ve ever seen them. The cleaning team left about 10 minutes before the crazy dog entered. Which was probably a good job… Because if any of you have ever witnessed a boxer puppy in action, you will know it involves a lot of running, bouncing, shaking and drooling. And when these activities are coordinated in quick succession… That drool can fly. It can fly far.
And it did.
Over the freshly cleaned carpets. But she was so cute, it was actually a little bit funnier.
Not so funny was the fact the crazy dog then ran downstairs, stiffed about the freshly cleaned hallway carpet… And then puked up on the floor.
Ok, it was a little funny. If not a little ironic.
I think in these situations we are faced with two choices. You can either get mad, frustrated and generally grumpy about the way that things are no longer quite perfect. Or you can chill out and realise that there is a greater joy to be discovered in the mess.
I used to live life in stopping place number 1. Things that didn’t go to plan, made my house messy, or ruined my schedule were great irritations that would ruin my day. Or my mood. Over the past few years, I’ve changed. God has changed me. I’ve realised that the greater joy is a far healthier place to live. And I think, the place that God wants us to live.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to steward our time, money and belongings well. It’s good to honour God with everything. But not when we start to stress about the stuff over the people we are called to serve. Not when the detail of the plan becomes more important than the calling God has given us.
Because more and more, I’m realising that my perfectly-made-plans are not the ones that God has. He’s more interested in sometimes working through the mess. Taking us through the things that feel hard and unplanned and not-the-way-I-want. Teaching us lessons through the hardship and the battles. And bringing us through. And showing His power. And allowing us to learn that His ways are higher than ours. But always better somehow.
And somehow, in learning these lessons, number 2 has become my default position. More and more at least.
And today, crazy dogs made me laugh, not stress. Drool and vomit came second to a good old catch up. And I figured that the whole thing would make for an interesting blog post at least 😉