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Snow Angels (2)

February 17, 2009

Continued from previous post.

These happy beasts calmly approach our daughters, who are now sitting on their snow saucers at the top of the hill, to pay a little visit. The Samoyeds sit down next to the girl-children, panting, smiling. The dogs get comfortable, as if this was their destination all along, like they’ve journeyed all the way from the frigid tundra of Siberia to finally meet the little Moore girls. They are calm, friendly, and convey a sense of temporary protection over them.

The regal presence of these stately animals immediately transforms the scene from a suburban lawn into a magical Narnia Fairy Tale. My daughters, of course, are enamored by these big fluffy new friends on a snowy day. We ooh and ahh while the girls embrace the dogs, digging their hands and faces deep into the fur. They snuggle for a while.

The twin Samoyeds bring a sense of serenity, tranquility and a strange nurturing presence to the scene. Watching the videotape, you can hear Beth and me talking softly in the background with a quiet wonder as I’m recording the scene: “Where did those dogs come from? I don’t know, but they’re beautiful! I’ve never seen that kind of dog before! Look! They’re as big as the girls are! Can you believe how they just walked right up and sat down next to them like that? Look how the girls love them! They’re so sweet!” Then we stop talking, and it’s very quiet. In the stillness and silence, all that you hear is the sound of the snow blowing in the light winter breeze, and the girls hugging the dogs. We just watch for a while, taking it in. Then, those dogs turn their attention from the girls and look directly into the camera at Beth and me. Right into our eyes, like they had some kind of secret. Some ancient wisdom in their face was saying that they knew all about us, that they’ve been watching us. They were just checking in.

No one said anything.

After a few minutes the dogs decide to get up and leave, just as randomly as they arrived. But there is not another person in sight. Nobody is walking the street with a leash. No master calling their pets back inside. They just run off and disappear into the woods. We never saw those dogs again.

I tell the girls that these were God’s angels visiting us.

And I really believe it.

Reading through the journals I kept during that period, I realized Beth and I were going through some tough times. Some days felt like the world was going to crash in on us. I was trying to establish myself in my career and was working through some brutal struggles with my job. We had just moved to a new community and didn’t know anyone. We were miles and miles away from family and friends. Beth had been hammering away at a PhD program that, at times, seemed like it would kill her before it would get finished. We were going through the usual growing pains of marital and relationship issues that come with time and with kids. We were isolated, stressed, working 60-hour weeks, trying to maintain a good family life and keep it all together.

But it’s funny that as we watched ourselves on TV that day, we all wanted to go back there, back to that time. I wanted to reach in to the screen, and say, “Hang in there, guys, it’s all going to be just fine. You’ll see! You’re doing great.”

And the angels came to let us know that God was there with us, too.

And as time marched on, as our lives improved in many ways, and as new struggles emerged, He was still there. Just like He is now. If I were to watch my life today from five or ten years in the future, I’d look back and see how God was watching over me, even when I wasn’t tuned in. Even when I was going through a spiritual crisis. Even when I was negative and skeptical and complaining and cynical. He was with me then, too. He allowed it, because it helped me to grow.  That truly is grace.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2009 11:03 pm

    a wonderful story!

  2. donkimrey permalink
    February 18, 2009 4:57 pm

    Bradley: I love it! You write beautifully, and the story about the girls made me think of days past and memories which still bring joy. On the subject of dogs: I’ve told those who visit my site they should visit yours. Especially I emphasized that point to my son, and to an attorney in Canada, Robert Sutherland.
    He has two, yes TWO ST. BERNARDS! And they stay indoors. Robert wrote today and told me he visited your site, but he couldn’t access it from my blog. If you don’t mind, I wish you’d re-activate that. It certainly makes it easier for me when I drop in for a visit. Keep up your good work! Stay close to Christ! ~dkimrey

  3. February 20, 2009 11:25 pm

    I sure am enjoying your stories. This one gave me chills…just beautiful. It’s a good reminder of God’s presence in the midst of our trials, plus the special ways he speaks to us.

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