It is late on the evening of a day off. It's been dark for a few hours now. Actually, it's been dark since shortly before 5:00 p.m., I think. There's a moon, still, big and round.
It was an unseasonably warm winter day. Most of the snow is gone. When we walk outside, it doesn't hurt.
Inside, it is not so Christmas-y either, at least in our house. We do not yet have the tree up, but we do have a plan. We have a couple of Christmas wall-hangings up, and I have begun to set out the Christmas books.
We got up early this morning and went to breakfast in St. Paul, at a great diner near the college where my husband works. He had music juries today, and I went with him so that I could work on a Christmas present while he listened to music students.
I also did a little reading. I have started reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I know, I should have read this book about 20 years ago. I know I've had it sitting on my shelf for a long time, probably since seminary which is not quite 20 years ago, but close enough. I don't know why I haven't read it, but I'm reading it now. I am reading the chapter about being pro-active, which means choosing how you will respond in any situation.
After my husband was done with his juries, we stopped in at a used book store in the neighborhood. The owners of this particular bookstore are a married couple. He seems to have libertarian political views, but I prefer talking to his wife, who likes to collect children's and illustrated books. We talk about Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen, Wanda Gag, Maude and Miska Petersham. I can't afford to collect much, but I have a handful of treasures: a copy of A Christmas Carol illustrated by Arthur Rackham (no dust jacket, though), The Tall Book of Make-Believe, illustrated by Garth Williams, a book of hymns illustrated by Gustav Tenggren.
After returning home, my husband prepared for his evening church service. I prepared to meet with a young couple getting married in May. We let the dog out, just as it was getting dark, which we do every day, but appears to have been a mistake.
She did not want to come in. At first, it seemed normal. Sometimes she doesn't want to come in right away. She still has a little playing to do, someone to bark at, something to sniff in the yard. But usually, a couple of minutes later, she's at the back door, making pathetic whining and yodeling noises, which we interpret as "Let me iiiiiiin!"
Not tonight. We tempted her with food. We cried and cajoled. We left her in the back yard and went to do our respective ministries. I met with my young couple. We talked about the Strengths and Growth Areas they perceived in their relationship.
I came home and our dog would still not come in. I wondered if I was being pro-active or re-active. I wondered if I was a bad dog-mom. What does it mean if your dog is running in circles around you in the dark back yard, dragging an enormous stick her mouth, trying to jump over the back fence? An hour ago, I was a wise counselor, asking just the right questions to a young couple who were sitting in my well-appointed office. Now I am anything but wise, trying to figure out just the right strategy to make my dog come in for the evening.
Well, she did come in, but I will spare you the details. It involve my finding the big stick, not for violence, but for a short game of tug-of-war. For some reason, afterwards the dog sat on command and I grabbed her collar and dragged her indoors. Her paws were filthy.
Now, I am going to go back to reading about what it means to be Pro-Active, which I think is a Good Idea. I think it is a good idea for Life, and for Ministry, and Even for Dogs.