Why am I late? Because my dog is 10 years old. He’s arthritic and has special needs ranging from asthma to hypoglycemia. He has good days, bad days, and in-between days. He rarely has great days when he feels like playing. So, when he does have those unusual great days, I stop whatever I’m doing and play with him. And that is why I’m late. I should probably apologize, but I don’t because I wouldn’t mean it. I have made a choice for which I am simply not sorry. Those 5 to 10 minutes I spent on the floor playing with my sweet, aging baby dog were the best minutes of my entire day.
Sometimes we are too hard on folks. We put our business britches on, and we assume that our work is the most important thing in the world to everyone. We forget that people have families, priorities, and problems that we know absolutely nothing about. We become trapped in a cycle of believing everyone sees everything from our perspective. We make the mistake of assuming that our focus is universal. When we experience anything that contradicts this, we become frustrated. After all, playing with your dog is a silly reason to be late for a meeting. But that’s not necessarily the case.
You see, I adopted my dog at a time when my heart was breaking. I won’t go into details, but I can tell you that it was one of the darkest times of my adult life. I was overwhelmed with grief and exhaustion. Getting out of bed took courage that I just didn’t have on most days. But then God gave me Oscar. I had to get out of bed to take him outside. I had to go to the store to get him food and supplies. Soon he was waking me up with snuggles and kisses and I found myself able to smile and even laugh. My dog is and will always be one of my favorite blessings. To me, playing with him at inconvenient times is not silly at all. Indulging him is the least I can do.
I guess the point of this is that someone who is not normally late or someone who accidently smarts off in a discussion, basically anyone that acts out of character, should occasionally be offered a bit of grace. Now, if someone is habitually late or routinely rude, that’s a totally different situation and should be addressed appropriately. What I’m talking about is those people who have rare moments that don’t make sense to us. We are all imperfect humans. For all the ways we are similar, there are a million ways in which our lives are different, too. Those differences should be respected.
Justice has its place, but so does grace. This week let’s really try to be understanding and kind. Take a minute and breathe. Also, it doesn’t hurt to remember that dog people are good people. Now if a cat person is late …. Of course, I’m kidding! Cat people are okay too!