So I’m not the most patient person. I want things yesterday, I want to see the fruits of my efforts faster than they often come and I don’t have time for people who don’t do the things I think they should be doing.
Last night I found my dog eating a cocoa powdered treat. He somehow broke into a plastic pin under my desk and found a box of “candy praline cigars”. I don’t know where they came from and I don’t remember someone giving them to me and neither does my wife remember these. As you might reckon, dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate and cocoa powder is among the most toxic things that dogs can eat. Haze is only 9 pounds, so even small amounts of toxins could have a big effect.
My patience was tried when poison control took a long time to answer their phone. I initially gave up and picked Haze up, put him in his crate after bundling him up and then proceeded to drive him to the 24 hour animal emergency care. When I arrived there was a sign on the door:
We Have Moved
AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! And their new location wasn’t exactly nearby, but it wasn’t that far either. So off I drove, glancing at Haze periodically to make sure he wasn’t wigging out. He was fine. His usual self. Before I pulled out I redialed poison control thinking they might get on the line while I drive there. There’s a small fee for the service to keep the line going as it is a non-profit. So I also took my wallet out and my credit card and placed it nearby in my cup holder. When I hit my breaks to stop for a light the credit card ended up somewhere else sliding off into the nether region of my car.
Still no answer at poison control.
I make a wrong turn, unfamiliar with which way the numbers run on the street where the hospital is. My patience is now at an all time low.
Finally the ASPCA agent gets on the phone and apologizes for the wait (It was 1AM after all). They ask me a bunch of questions and then inform me that I should proceed to the animal control anyway as they were concerned about him ingesting the cocoa powder.
I arrive and ring the bell at the animal control.
No answer. There was a young girl sitting with her dog also waiting who was kind enough to break the beam and let me in.
“I don’t know where they are.” she replied.
Someone came over and took my information. I had a case number from the poison control people but I left it in my car in my phone. Ugh. Back out to retrieve it. Still can’t find the credit card. The folks at poison control were nice enough to take my information and I told them I’d call them back.
The good news is that the vet came in and said that Haze was fine. He was well below the toxin level for his weight and cocoa powder was the 4th ingredient down so it was mixed with a bunch of other things.
Patience restored. Then I began the trek home and a deer darted out in front of my car. I swerved. Haze’s crate slid off the seat –the belt didn’t hold his crate properly. My only thought was that I was heading back to the animal hospital with a dog with a broken leg and a deer.
Thankfully I missed the deer (expert driving!). I pulled over and checked on Haze who was fine. Not even a yelp. I caught my breath and regained my composure and returned home.
My impatience was thin the entire night and I knew that today I was going to be with kids at a refugee shelter with my students after a night of getting in at 3AM.
But what good did my impatience do? It didn’t make my dog better. Perhaps I was a bit more patient today with the children at Vive who love to run and climb and wear me out all too quickly.
The truth is I consciously prepared myself to be patient with my students and the young adults of the parish as well as the children we served today.
And I had one of the best days there in some time. I played most of the day and listened to the experiences of the refugees without much of a care for anything other than the present moment.
So tonight after a long day, I pray for refugee children, for children who need to be patient for freedom, for a place in the world. May they soon taste freedom and be able to not worry in their present moment. Amen.