Loneliness called out to Roger as he trekked along the back trail to Woodland. He turned and noted with some alarm darkening clouds approaching behind him. A practical man, he decided to catch a quick break under the thick branches of a spreading oak tree before he’d double his efforts to keep ahead of the storm.
First, he glanced around for his own safety, then sat down on a log. The voice from somewhere called again, “Loneliness! Loneliness!”
He took a long drink from his canteen; no sense being so thirsty, surely there’d be water ahead somewhere soon.
Logic tried to bring Roger some peacefulness in his mind, but Loneliness wouldn’t leave. Roger tightened his grip on his walking stick, as if muscles could do what his mind refused to do.
The rain came as gentle sprinkles at first, which soon were outdone by piercing hard slashes of rain. Roger pulled his hat more firmly on his head, hunching over to spare his face. The tree deflected a lot of the downpour, and that led to an unexpected blessing.
Time seemed to stand still, and everything was quiet all around him. Then, it came again as if on cue, the word “Loneliness!”, but this time it was definitely coming from right beside him as he was sitting on the log.
“What? What is going on!” Roger’s man-sized sensibilities had to inquire. “Oh, God, what’s going on!” It wasn’t a question; it was more of an aggravated exclamation of a person nearly losing his cool.
House for sale; real estate people walking strangers through your house; a job promotion to a dinky town 3 hours north so Paul now commutes back on weekends. It’s enough to give a person a headache. What about the dog?
Samson, the wonder dog must be suffering, too. Watching the packing, seeing boxes of stuff carried out to the garage, furniture rearranged to make the rooms look less cluttered. Seeing her master only briefly. What was going through her doggie-brain?
All month, the dog, an 8 year-old Belgian Malinois, had begun showing symptoms, loss of appetite, lack of energy. In the last few days it had gotten worse.
Now, it was time for Patti’s week-long trip to see her folks in Ohio. With tickets bought last October she looked forward to a break, but also was reluctant to put Samson under more stress by leaving him with Paul’s folks in Hidden Valley. An anxious phone call Thursday expressed their concerns.
“Samson will be fine with us,” Dale assured them.
Late Friday afternoon their pickup pulled into the Hidden Valley driveway. With her doggie bed and toys unloaded and arranged in the front room Samson no doubt remembered staying here before. With Paul and Patti’s schedule of travel and business he’d been over to “grandma’s” house for a long weekend every few months.
The first thing after hugs and kisses goodbye Dale and Lois laid hands on the dog and asked the Lord to heal him and keep him safe while he was in their care. Then they tentatively offered him a tiny bone-shaped “goodie.” He ate it and looked up with big, brown eyes.
Strange, isn’t it, how two otherwise normal adults turn into doting parents when there’s a dog to care for. They crawled across the floor to retrieve his plush ball, they patted his head, they told him how handsome he was. And they waited. Would he eat or get sicker?
By Monday morning he was the picture of health. He had been eating for two days, was drinking water, had his normal elimination. He was peppy and wagged his tail. Lois and Dale were elated.
Then, in a stroke of silliness Lois put a tape of Hawaiian music on the player to set the proper exotic atmosphere. A blue sheet draped along a couple of end tables became an ocean background. She arranged a multicolored beach towel, a tall glass filled with blue water, a tiny drink umbrella taped to its rim, and some seashells scattered on the floor. With an orchid-colored silk flower lei around his neck Samson was ready for a photo of his “vacation in Hawaii.” Samson loved to pose for photos, so it was no trouble getting him to sit still.
A half dozen Polaroid photos in hand Lois lettered a piece of paper, “Aloha from Hawaii. Having a great time. Wish you were here, Samson.”
Dale played along with the idea and took the envelope to the post office for overnight, priority mail to send to Patti, in care of her folks’ address in Ohio.
The house has not been sold yet, and things are still unsettled for Paul and Patti— Dale and Lois are still praying about that — but they enjoyed being part of the Lord’s blessing for them and the wonder dog, Samson. ###