No, there wasn’t an earthquake. No, my home wasn’t invaded by a wild animal. Nor was a raccoon trapped in my chimney. (That idea freaks me out.) Nope. I was just trying to go to the bathroom during a thunder storm. Bella- my shorkie -would have none of this “closed door between us” business. She won. I was soon joined by Duncan the Porkie, as well. It was a regular pooch par-tay in the potty. (And here- I thought I was past the “not able to pee alone” phase of life. Not so much.)
Bella has issues. Anxiety issues. She’s afraid of everything: The fireplace. Thunder. Rain. Hail. (But -not the UPS guy. Or, the Pizza guy. I’m pretty sure she wants to eat their faces off. Like I said- she has issues.) We’ve tried everything from that calming hormone spray stuff, to a $40 Thunder shirt. Which, she is wearing at the moment. (Seriously? a $40 dog shirt? Ridiculous. I know. With very few exceptions- I don’t even spend that much on my own tops. But- she shakes so hard during thunder storms that I’m afraid she’ll rattle her brains loose. And let’s face it- she can’t afford brain damage. She has enough issues. So I’m trying the thunder shirt. So far? It’s just making Duncan try to chew it off of her. I think he’s trying to set her free. He also: has issues.)
In addition to shaking when afraid- Bella, and now- Duncan, follow me around the house as if tethered to my ankles. (Where Bella goes- Duncan goes. He’s codependent like that.) This would be cute if we were training for a dog weaving between your feet- trick at a show or something- but we’re not. And- since my last surgery- I have trouble seeing my feet. So, this dogs circling my feet during anxiety attacks often results in my tripping over them. Or, stepping on them. Sometimes: both. Much human and dog yelping, then ensues.
Yes, I live in a zoo, without a keeper, I’m aware.
This morning involved both the “Let’s try to kill the human by tripping her” game and the “Let’s watch her pee- she’s the source of all security, and something could happen behind that closed door-” game.
Then, I tried to sneak out the door to drive my youngest human- to school. As I double checked for my keys, made sure he had his homework and simultaneously shoved- I mean- encouraged him out the door- (He’s likewise- not a fan of storms.)
Bella- bolted. Out the door. Into the storm. “Wha?????” I know. That’s what I was thinking too.
Apparently- she wanted to go with us. Enough so-that running into the very thing she is most afraid of- a storm-in order to be near her humans of all security and safety- made sense, in her dog brain. Or, maybe- as Noah suggested- it was the thunder shirt cutting off oxygen to her brain.
Anyway- after a short scene of panic and visions of chasing a shaking shorkie through the neighborhood in a thunder storm- we scooped her up and put her back in the house. (Yes, we- it took both of us. She was on a mission to stay tethered to my ankle.)
As Noah and I dodged raindrops handmade it to the car- I wondered if maybe I need to be more like Bella. see- when a storm hits- literally and figuratively- I tend to run around battening down hatches- taking care of details, making lists and cleaning random things. Pretty much the woman equivalent of chasing my tail and shaking MY brains loose.
What if- instead of all this shaking and worry and trying to control and chasing my tail with busyness I create- I spent that energy staying close to the one who can both calm the storm- and calm me? What if I was so convinced that He could- that I was willing to run INTO the storm- just to be near him?
Maybe crazy Bella is onto something.
I think I’ll give it a try.
Dear Lord- there are storms in life. Somedays are more stormy than others. Lately, it seems that one rolls in as soon as another rolls out. I see myself in Bella, I’m high strung- shaking my brains loose with anxiety over things I can’t control. Help me to stay closer to you- than Bella does to me. Help me to not waste energy shaking with fear. When I need to- help me to run through the storm- to get to you- In Jesus name- amen.
“My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;[c]
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.” From Psalm 55