Our weekend started out with a trip to the vet, where we sought advice on treatments for our poor, lame dog.
A few days ago, he cut the cushy pad on the bottom of his paw, and as he licked his wounds (which I had always thought dogs were supposed to do), he turned a little scrape into quite a problem. When Saturday rolled around, our normally clumsy mutt had become a full-blown cripple, hobbling pathetically and looking at us with big searching eyes that asked, "Why me?"
There is something morbidly humorous about a big pit bull, bobbing his head like a pigeon as he limps around, and something even funnier when he falls over, lifting his leg to "water" a tree, or lands on his head trying to get out of the car. I know, I am cruel & unfeeling-- my heart does break for him... but really, its hilarious, too.
Our attempts to quicken his healing, however, were not so funny. Wrestling with 60lbs of pure muscle (not to mention a fearful, untrusting rescue-pup) is quite a feat, and keeping his jaws of steel away from the finished product of gauze & bandages required perseverance & creativity.
We left our little cripple at home for a few hours, while Chris went on a long bike ride & I got to spend some girl time with a friend. However, it wasn't too long before I got another one of Those phone calls: the kind of phone call that leaves you searching for your insurance card and the nearest ER.
Yes, friends, Chris took another tumble off his mountain bike, breaking (so he thought) his hand. You might be thinking to yourself, "Didn't Chris just break his hand mountain biking?" The answer to that question would be: Yes, less than a year ago. The weeks of sympathy & immobility were always met with the consolation, "Well, at least it wasn't your right hand."
Only this time, it was.
After spending 4 long, dull hours in the ER (and never actually speaking to a doctor), we were sent home with a splint and the happy prognosis that there was no break & that he should be healed within a few days (Chris is dubious, though-- he's convinced it really is broken. Time will tell). We finally stumbled through the door around 9pm, tired, cranky & hungry.
The next task was to re-bandage Gavin's paw (the blue bandage shards were scattered around his bed, as he had nothing to do all day but tear it off & wait for our return). Since Chris only had one hand available, and since Gain already knew what was coming, I got the charming task of lifting 60lbs of dead weight off the floor, dragging him to the bowl of iodine/water, and straining with all my might to hold him there for a few minutes while his paw soaked. Of course, in the process, he spilled the bowl of iodine all over my pants, the floor and two towels, I squirted Neosporin all over the rug, and his bandage fell off again within minutes.
After that, I had to help Chris unwrap his arm, get in the shower, re-wrap his arm, feed us both, and take the poor (lame) dog out for a walk (hobble)... and clean the towels, floor, pants & rug I had stained.
I wish that I could say that I was compassionate, gracious and loving through the whole process. I wish I could say that I supported my husband through his injury & pain, and that I joyfully gave of myself in his (and the dog's) hour of need.
I could say that, but I would be lying.
As I sat through church this morning, I thought about my responses over the previous several hours. Yes, there were moments of genuine compassion, gratitude for health care & insurance, and relief that Chris was okay & his hand wasn't broken... but for the most part, I was irritated and snappy.
I wish that I could respond to situations like that with patience, love & grace. It broke my heart as I reflected on my tone of voice, after the little iodine/Neosporin spillage. Chris' patience, good nature and soft words really are Nobel prize-worthy, and I realized this morning-- when I had to drive us to church & take care of the dog-- how much he does for me behind the scenes.
I decided today that I want to use this opportunity to exercise generosity, love & patience. They are nice concepts to talk about, but usually messy to practice. As I watch Chris calmly try to bandage his arm by himself, or hang up a jacket with one hand, I see so much the patience that I lack. And I want to grow, but Patience really should be the last virtue you ask God to help you grow in: everyone knows as soon as you do that, you end up in traffic jams, at the end of long DMV lines, in endless conversations with difficult people, or stuck with a broken laptop. And yet, I see my need for it so clearly, I can't help but ache for it.
Our weekend ended with me trying to reconnect with Chris, apologizing for my lack of patience. As I reached over to kiss him, he awkwardly tried to move his gimp hand around my back for a hug, and clocked me in the nose in the process. Alright, I admit it, I swore, and shrieked "Did you just break my nose?!" Oh, the pain, the itense sinus headache, the tenderness! Luckily there are no black eyes or sowllen noses-- the three of us would be quite a site walking down the street together.