Christmas 2007

Rottweilers were on the tippy top of Santa’s naughty list that cold, blustery day in December of ‘93.  The dude in the red duds was tired of all the letters he had received about Rottweilers causing havoc all over the world.  Poor Daphne, my 91-pound Rotty,  had to pay the price.  It  just wasn’t fair because the worst thing she had ever done  was eat a jumbo bag of Tostitos and wash it down with a quart of Pace Picante salsa.

Dusk fell around us as Daphne and I walked through my parents’ neighborhood in Mountlake Terrace.   I had  to find a good home for her because I no longer had time for a dog.   I had just moved back to the beautiful Northwest the year before, after a seven year stint in California and Arizona.  It was great to be home, and I was thankful to have found a teaching job.  But this meant I would have very little time for Daphne.

Since Rottweilers had a bad reputation, it was going to be a tough sell.  Even though Daphne was a sweetie (except for  the chip and salsa incident, but you and I both know we’ve done worse things than that), it would be next to impossible to find her a home—let alone a good one.  Most people preferred puppies so they could train them.  Daph was two years old, which would lower her chances of getting adopted.

I decided to say a prayer about Daph’s situation.  Someone told me it worked, but I wasn’t  sure back in ’93.  I was ticked off at God because I thought he had ruined my life with a bad marriage (not to George, of course!) and bad health.   Everywhere I went, people kept telling me about a church in Bothell, now called CrossPointe.   I didn’t live or work near Bothell, so that was odd.  I knew church wasn’t my thing, but after so many people told me about it, I went just to get them off my back.  The plan was to go once and then get on with my life because I didn’t have time for God, and it was obvious he didn’t have time for me.  Anyway, the people at CrossPointe were really into this prayer thing, and as it turned out I greatly enjoyed the church.  So I figured I’d say a prayer for Daphne.  After all, what did I have to lose?

Taking a deep breath, I said (in my head, so nobody would think I was a freak ) “God, hey it’s me, Cherrie.  I really need a good home for Daphne, because I don’t have time to spend with her now that I’m teaching again.  Please help me.  She’s really good, except for the chip deal.”  Okay, it’s a done deal, I thought, except I’ll have to do my part instead of sitting around on my derriere, wondering why God hasn’t pulled his weight.  So I began to think  about listing Daphne in the paper.  Of course Internet wasn’t around at the time, back when the dinosaurs were just starting to die off.

All the sudden I heard a clatter, or actually it was chatter—the chatter of a lady driving by.  “Hey, what a beautiful dog!”  she yelled out her car window, slowing down as she drove past Daphne and I.  “I’m looking for a Rottweiler, but I want one that’s about two years old so it’s already trained and housebroken and stuff.  And of course I want a female.”  Good golly, miss molly, I thought.  I had just sent up the prayer less than five minutes before.

“Pull over so we can talk,” I motioned.    Geez Louise, I thought, maybe I should put in my order now for a new red Mercedes convertible while the getting  is good, or at least  a Jeep Wrangler or something fun with a lot of spunk to put my kayak on…

She nodded, pulled over, and we chatted about Rotties.  She had been looking for a trained 2-year-old female Rottie for a few months.  A retired ,single nurse , she  wanted a dog to lavish her love on, as well as to protect her.  After a few trial runs, we both agreed that Daphne and Linda were meant for each other—like peppermint was made for mochas.  So Daphne and all her toys moved in with Linda.

Every so often I would think about Daphne and wonder how she was doing, but didn’t want to stop by or call because it would be hard emotionally.  About a year later, I was waiting in a pharmacy line, beginning to think I would be spending decades there.  By the time I got out of the pharmacy, I figured I would be about 96.  Bored out of my skull, I saw a lady who looked vaguely familiar, but couldn’t quite place her.  A few minutes later, she turned around and said, “Hey, you’re the one that gave me Daphne, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am,”  I replied.  Linda reported that she enjoyed Daphne a great deal, and that she took her to have doggy massages every few weeks.  Since Linda was retired, they went on many trips to the beach and camping outings as well.   Sheesh, she has a better life than I do, I thought.  Everything turned out as happy as a six-year-old on Christmas morning.

I will never forget the day I prayed for Daphne,  because it’s the day  the Lord showed me that he is the God who provides,   the God who cares , and “the God with whom nothing is impossible.”  It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized that particular phrase is repeated many times in Scripture.    He is not a Santa Claus that gives us toys if we’re good girls and boys.  But even better, he is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created:  things in heaven and on earth,” says the Good Book.

Since then my life has changed in too many ways to count, and God has answered hundreds of my prayers—maybe even   thousands.  Sometimes he answers them right when I pray them, other times it takes a lot longer, and every once in a while he    answers “no”  or “wait.”  But each time he says “no” or “wait,”, there is always a great reason.  He has shown me that he not only is the reason for the season, but he is the reason for life, and that true peace, life, and joy can only be found at the foot of the cross.  Money, power, fame (or even chocolate!) can’t begin to compete.

We pray you will find true hope, peace, and joy this Christmas and all the days of your life.

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