The Audacity to Hope
Six weeks ago, the dog I've had since I was fifteen ran away. Worried and heart-broken, we hung flyers, knocked on every door on the block, and posted to all the forums. For a long time, we would look for her during our walks and slow down when we drove through the neighborhood. But eventually, for the sake of our own emotional well-beings, we began to move forward without her.
A few days ago, we got a call from someone several blocks down the road claiming they found our dog. We were obviously skeptical. Could a four pound, 10 year old, anxiety-ridden pup really survive 6 weeks on her own? What would be the odds this was actually her? But we got in the car and drove over to assess. They took her out of the kennel and Matt and I looked at each other in disbelief. Could it really be her? I caught a glance and was convinced. We took her straight to the vet and began calling family members & close friends. She had mange, matted fur and a cataract, but otherwise she was healthy and alive. It was a miracle. Or so we thought.
That evening, as she sat in my lap, shivers shot up my spine when I received a text from a woman who knows Jazzie. She had seen the picture I had posted of her earlier that day, and told me another woman had just lost a dog identical to the one in that picture. But by that point, the vet had already confirmed it was Jazzie, and we didn't have a doubt in our minds. She had the same mannerisms, fur patterns, everything. Her nose was darker, but the vet chalked that up to lengthened sun exposure. I tossed and turned all night. I had already let my guard down and allowed myself to believe it was her.
The next morning, we had decided to shake off the weird coincidences when we got a call from the local police asking us to bring Jazzie in to confirm she was our dog. I was so stressed and scared. I couldn’t bear to lose her twice. After an hour of investigating, comparing photos and details, the owner of the other lost dog walked into the room and Jazzie jumped off my lap and ran straight to her. My heart was broken. Because the dog had been in our care, the police let us make the final call. So we prayed aloud and sat there for a long time in silence. We left the station without her, confused and embarrassed. Shouldn’t we be able to identify our own dog? How naive could we be?
I didn’t understand why this would happen, but I chose to trust. It was almost as if we were mourning the loss of Jazzie for the second time. I silently scolded myself for allowing myself to hope. For letting my guard down. I tend to pride myself on my skepticism. I think a lot of us do, subconsciously. It’s like a mark of maturity or a measure of our grasp on reality. But this morning, I felt like God was telling me he was proud of me. Not just for willingly giving her up, but for allowing myself to ever believe it could be her.
I think we tend to view hope as a weakness. A childish quality. So I wrote these words in my journal:
"Three things remain-faith, hope, & love. And the greatest of these is love." -1 Cor. 13:13