I hope that after reading this post I will be able to save some of you a big chunk of time in your life. The time I am talking about comes from the time we spend trying to help people that just won’t take it. I think that’s what Jesus was talking about when he was quoted as saying, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine.” I think he was trying to tell us that it is pointless to share something with someone that can’t see the value of what you have to offer. Some modern day variations on the statement that might help you out could be:
- You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
- You can’t turn a hood-rat into a housewife
- You can take the person out of the environment they came from, but you can’t take the environment out of the person. (There’s a couple other ways to say that, but so far this is a PG blog)
Now me being the type of person that sees God in everyone, I used to think that I could easily help other people see it in themselves. However, Life has slapped me around enough to show me that that isn’t always the case. The truth is I can only show people what they want to see. I’ve known this for a long time, but I just didn’t want to give up on people completely. Then a couple of weeks ago I came to the realization that some people just need professional help. Talk about liberating.
It all hit home for me when my dog ran away for what seemed like the fiftieth time. This dog is an escape artist. We put her in a crate once and she somehow managed to collapse it and escape. There was also the time when we asked a neighbor to take her out to go the bathroom. This dog got right beside the backdoor and as soon as it opened she bolted and had my neighbor searching for hours. That’s just how the dog is. I don’t even get bothered anymore. I’m at the point where if she runs away I just say, “Nice knowing you” and wait to see what happens.
Well, the last time she escaped, it was off of a wire line tied to a tree. Somehow she managed to get out of a whole harness that went around her neck and her torso. When we got to it, it was still latched together. We’re talking Houdini here. Anyway, she escaped right before we were going to leave for a Cape Verdean Independence festival. I was supposed to meet my brother there and I was excited. Needless to say, we never left. But that’s cool–God’s plan and all.
Anyway, we searched for hours. The whole time I’m talking to God in my head asking that whatever lessons I’m supposed to learn get revealed to me. I don’t believe in loss so I knew I was getting something out of the experience and I wasn’t going to waste it since I didn’t get to go to the festival. Well, about 4 hours or so later we found her walking down the main road in our town looking like she looks in the picture above. Those are porcupine quills. The dog ran out and sniffed a porcupine. I would say I couldn’t believe it accept I remember the time she got sprayed by a skunk and I spent an hour washing her in spaghetti sauce trying to get the stink out. By the way that was around midnight and she escaped from me while I was washing her that night.
Well, to make a long story short, we tried for several more hours to get the quills out of her face. Especially after the vet told us it would be at least $300. I won’t get into the measures we took to try and calm her down to be able to get them out, I will tell you that none of those measures worked. No matter how much I wanted to help my dog (and save some money) I eventually had to accept that my powers to help her were limited even if my desire to do so wasn’t. The dog needed professional help. Even though I was trying to help her, she felt threatened and was getting a little crazy. How many times have you tried to help someone that got themselves into trouble and they flip out on you because they are afraid of what they have to go through to get better? My dog Journey was a perfect example of that type of behavior.
So, the next day we ended up going to the vet and shelling out nearly $450 on our best friend. That kind of sucked because the day before we unexpectedly got money back from our old apartments and were hoping to use it on a much needed vacation. But God and the Dog had other plans. Despite this though, I feel pretty good and in the end I feel a whole lot richer. Not only did I learn the value of my limitations as a helper, I also felt the benefits of embracing my strength in being willing to learn from any situation. I hope whoever’s reading this gets something out of it too.