December 31, 2017
Last week, our son Matt, his wife Jeanine, and their two children left Sinclairville in a blizzard, headed for Florida, where they were meeting up with their (and our) good friends, Bob and Bri Katilus. The two couples have been friends since college days, at one time living nearly across the street from one another until the Katilus clan relocated to Texas.
One of the perennial problems of vacations is what to do with the pets, which in this case includes three dogs and a cat. The older dogs and the cat were OK being left at home and just being let outside twice a day for sanitary purposes. The newest addition however, was a little curly-haired critter they named Doug. I’d tell you what breed he is if I could remember. Suffice it to say, he’s small, still a puppy, and we had the privilege of providing a home for him for the first day of their vacation, until the young couple who was to take care of him returned from their Christmas visit to family.
Doug is smart, quite trainable, and even though still a puppy, was remarkably well-behaved. He pestered Emma for awhile, but they soon came to an arrangement. Hector the cat however, chose to make himself scarce while Doug was in residence. All was well. There is however, somewhat of a backstory to the incident I will shortly relate. Emma sleeps in our bedroom. She has her own bed, which has become somewhat threadbare with use, to the point where there are holes in it where the stuffing has been coming out. However it started out, at this point, the stuffing consists of rolls of brown hair, about three inches long and perhaps 1/2 inch in diameter. Every so often, when I have found one or two of them lying on the bedroom floor, I pick them up and throw them out.
So last week, Doug is sleeping in his kennel in the kitchen when I get up early to take him outside to do his business. That being done, I put him back in his kennel and head back upstairs for a little more snoozing. After all, Christmas Eve services didn’t get done till about 12:30, and by the time we got home, it was about 1:30. Early morning and a full day with the family for Christmas and Abi’s birthday meant a little extra sleep was welcome and in order. As I headed back to bed, in the semi darkness, I noticed some of Emma’s bed stuffing lying on the floor, so I bent over and picked it up to throw it out. Only what I picked up didn’t come out of Emma’s bed; it came out of Doug.
You can imagine that I didn’t hold onto it for long. Which brings me to the point of this little tale. On December 31, we usually reflect on the year gone by and look to the year to come. There are few if any, years when everything goes exactly as we had hoped. We have a choice to make. We can let go of the hurts, the disappointments, the failures and fears, or we can hold onto them. Problem is, they are like Doug’s droppings—not the kind of stuff we want on our hands or in our hearts for very long. Linda’s reaction to my little mishap was, “Don’t touch me!” When we hold onto stuff we should be letting go of, people want to keep their distance. So whatever it is you latched onto in 2017, whether deliberately, or as with me and Doug’s droppings, by accident, let it go. Hold onto it, and it’ll only stink up 2018, keeping you from grabbing hold of God’s grace and goodness. Let it go!