Belle’s 4th Step – Moral Inventory

Hello, my name is Belle and I’m an ungrateful follower of my master and I struggle with ADD (Angry Dog Disorder).  This is my moral inventory as I work through the 4th step of my 12 step program.

To my master and his family I want to make amends for how ungrateful I have been these past eleven years.  You’ve given me a warm, loving home.  You’ve allowed me to be the Alpha dog and you’ve taken me on hundreds of walks.  You’ve provided food and shelter and a great big back yard to run and poop in.

But I have been ungrateful in spite of these acts of kindness.  Yes, I have acted lovingly in your presence, licking your hand and allowing you to pet me, but when you weren’t looking, I have destroyed precious heirlooms as well as basic household items.  Here is my list of amends.

Stuffed Koala from Australia, Leather photo album from Kenya, one and only video from trip to China, handpainted glass Christmas ornament of a Siberian Husky you purchased in my honor, numerous dog beds and comforters, Peter Bay’s belt, Kayla Meyer’s straw purse from her trip to the Caribbean, Greg Ayer’s sub sandwich, Andrew’s wallet, the groundhog I killed and then carried in my mouth as I ran around the neighborhood terrorizing the neighborhood kids, the numerous times I escaped from the yard in order to terrorize the neighborhood kids, the numerous screen windows I ruined in my escape, the berber carpet downstairs that I unraveled, the red ink pen I chewed on in the dining room entrance, the skirting on the couch and matching chair, the vacuum cleaner I burned out because of all my hair, the holes and ruts I dug in the backyard searching for moles, the gutter downspouts I destroyed trying to get chipmunks, the grass and bushes I destroyed, the late night calls from neighbors complaining about my barking or saying they found me in their cars or houses, the many Christmas presents I unwrapped and ate, the ottoman I insist on using as a bed, our little black cat I chased up the refrigerator, and the thousands of yards of toilet paper I have unrolled and strung all over the house.  For all of these things, I am sorry.

I would love to tell you, as I have worked through this 4th step, that  I have turned over a new leaf.  I would love to tell you that I am now clean and sober and I no longer struggle with ADD.  But that would be a lame attempt at continuing to live in my denial.  As the old saying goes, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  Therefore, I will continue to love you to your face, but also continue to destroy everything that you think is precious.  I will help you not get too attached to material possessions, but remain hopelessly attached to me, even in my sickness.  And when I’m gone, someday in the not too distant future, I will make you cry one more time.

Love, Belle

Mourning the Whacking of My Tree

Back in July 2008, I blogged about how I prayed for a little tree close to my neighborhood.  It had gotten hit by a passing carload of drunk teenagers (sure, that’s an assumption, but really, who else would do such a thing?!) and was split in two and leaning into the traffic lane.  I took the time to wrap it with duct tape and got it standing up tall and proud. 

Since that time, I’ve watched it’s leaves turn golden red in the fall and blossom new leaves in the spring.  Every time a family member comes to town, I brag about my tree and point it out to them as we pass by.  (This really makes me sound pitiful and sad, doesn’t it?)   Anyway, I love me tree.  I really felt proud of how I saved this little sapling and how it ended up becoming the bestest tree in the whole median strip on Strecker Road.  Until this Halloween…

Yes folks, on October 31, 2009, my favorite little tree got whacked for the second, and final time.  It was like a bad dream.  Sally and I were driving home Saturday night around 11:00 when we caught a passing glimpse of the crime scene.  Tire tracks and tree “body parts” strewn about the road and, there it was, a whacked stub where once stood a proud little rehabbed tree.

My heart sank!  I was visibly shaken.  I wanted to go find those drunk teenagers and make them duct tape my little tree back in place, limb by limb.  Sally started philosophying and saying something about the sovereignty of God, but I would have no part of it.  I was mad.  That was MY tree!  I saved it!  It was mine!  It gave my life purpose and meaning!

Okay, I admit, I overreacted a bit.  But I’ve had time to reflect and mourn and get things into perspective.  I’ve not been able to pass the murder scene since Saturday night, but I’ve thought long and hard about the deeper meaning of this meaningless random tree whacking and come up with the lesson I believe God is trying to teach me.

Don’t get wrapped up in investing in things that don’t last.  Every tree we attempt to save will one day fall and be thrown in the fire or turned over to an army of termites.  But that’s not the case for God’s crowning creation, human beings.  When we invest in their lives, we are investing in eternal things.  Because, while human beings will someday die an earthly death, our souls will live forever.  Last Thursday, I had the honor and privilege of leading a sweet young couple to the Lord.  Listening to both of them pray and confess to God how they needed and desired a relationship with Christ was a powerful and deeply meaningful experience.  To see how God is already working in their lives and their marriage is inspiring and satifying.  To see them experience hope and lasting change in their lives has far more value than saving all the trees in Yellowstone National Park.

If anyone is searching for meaning and purpose in life, I would encourage investing in relationships.  Relationships with other people are the only thing that will last.