Creation has been delighting me lately. Yesterday, while walking with a friend in her neighborhood, we crossed paths with a couple of sweet, round-cheeked, sun-tanned, soft-spoken and smiley midwestern children--perfect, a big brother and a little sister--and their dog. At first I thought it was a dog something like ours, small and fluffy. But after talking with the children for a bit, and petting the precious thing, we learned that it was a 14-week-old puppy, a Goldendoodle. (That's a cross between a Golden retriever and a poodle--they're doing this these days to make certain popular breeds, like Goldens, less prone to shedding and also hypoallergenic for those who love dogs but have allergies. It doesn't hurt to cross the Golden temperment with the poodle intelligence, either.)
This dog was just a bundle of gentle puppy love, melting into my hands as I rubbed her ears and her chin, then flopping over flat on her back for belly rubs, loose and limber as only a puppy can be. She looked deep into my eyes as I dog-talked her, and I could read her thoughts, "You are a nice lady and you love dogs, and I am a dog and I love you because you love me, and I would like to be with you forever because, because, because just so much nice love!" My heart longed to take her home, and she started trying to follow me. I think the kids got a trifle nervous. No worries. I tore myself away. God made the dogs, and the dogs are a joy.
The day before, God did a different miracle for us.
Shawn and I try to walk quite often in the evening, but he works late and the days are getting shorter. We can drive over to the park (rather than cutting through the park access in our neighbor's yard at twilight), but the trail gets downright murky by the time we reach the end of the path and turn around to come back. Let me tell you, I get the creeps when, in the dark of night, we walk into a grove of trees and enter the tunnel-like part of the path with its umbrella of leafy branches above us and its thicket of underbrush stretching off into unknown blackness on both sides, while the cicadas shriek. I never know what is hiding just out of sight, maybe a wolf or a coyote, or even a rabid racoon. We often see bats gliding about in the night sky.
On Wednesday, the day of the miracle, I had a tiring day. For one thing, I went to work, and I went earlier than usual because at the end of the day I had to drive over to the hospital and see a doctor. On my drive across town to the hospital, I chose an injudicious route, clogged with stoplights and college students, which of course made me late, which of course made me stressed, especially since I was the last appointment of the day. Upon my arrival, the receptionist kindly checked me in, even though I showed up two minutes after my appointment time rather than fifteen minutes before as per the instructions. The good news is that the doctor didn't do any procedures to me, so ultimately it makes no sense that I was as pathologically tired as I was when I finally got home.
Yes, upon arriving home, I first took my dogs out, because that is important for our floors. After that, I turned to meeting some of my own needs, which involved eating a snack, regardless of Shawn's schedule and the timing of supper, because I was famished. After the snack, I collapsed on the sectional in front of HGTV and lay motionless until Shawn arrived home.
Usually we eat dinner before we walk, but on Wednesday I had eaten a snack, and Shawn had eaten a hearty lunch at work, late in the day. We decided to go for our walk before dinner, a very uncharacteristic move. The significant upshot is that we were walking with a lot more daylight than usual.
As we entered the grove of trees for the first time, outward bound, I looked up into the sky where we often see bats late at night, and I saw silhouettes of winged creatures darting among the tree limbs. Upon closer inspection, we realized that we were looking at monarch butterflies. We walked a bit further and saw more. "So many butterflies!" I commented to Shawn. The air was thick with them, like a cheesy special effect in a movie, except this was for real.
We arrived at the end of the trail and turned around to go back. On the return we noticed more and more butterflies. Our foliage is still green, but we saw a number of tree branches that had so many monarch butterflies settled on them, they looked as though they were dripping with autumn leaves. About halfway back to our car, we came upon a branch that was lower than the rest, so we gained a much better view of the butterflies and their beautiful fluttering wings. We just stood and stared for a long time, wondrous that we were seeing this sight, the butterfly migration that had not been in town the day before, and would not be around again the day after.
How inexplicable is it that on the one day of the year when we decided to go for a walk before dinner instead of after, on that one day, that one time, God arranged for the butterfly migration to be there? Inexplicable except for grace.
God often shows His love in ways that are specially tailored to minister to each one of us, if only we will notice. Glorious thunderstroms, golden corn and soybeans almost ripe for harvest, sunshine, trees, flowers and puppies, even butterflies.
God is so good, He's so good to me.
(This is just Schubert, not the Goldendoodle, but Schubert is a miracle, himself.)