Nine years ago, my siblings and I set out on a quest to wear our parents down until they submitted; you see, we wanted a dog. We schemed, planned, plotted, argued. We needed a dog. Mum and Dad however, were having none of it. They ignored our cries and plea bargaining. They did not listen to us promising to take good care of it, feed and walk it each day. They cited our lack of attention to the newly acquired rabbit as case in point. At school, conversations would invariably turn to pets and how my friend’s parents were getting dogs for the family. The consensus amongst families was that pets bring a whole different level of responsibility and many were embracing the challenge. Not us. According to Dad, it would be not now. Not ever. However, us three would not give up that easily.
One day, Mum happened to relay our relentless pursuit of a four-legged friend, to her hairdresser who had recently experienced the same thing with her girls. She had given in and they were the proud owners of a rather energetic Springer Spaniel called Mousy. Mousy was exhausting, messy and needed constant attention. She sometimes wet the floor if she didn’t get out to the garden in time. This bundle of energy was demanding, but the family were in love. This did nothing to allay mum’s fears of the chaos that a dog would bring to the home.
Several months later of continued diligence and nightly prayers of ‘and please let them agree to a dog’, Mum heard that there was a family who had a chocolate brown Labrador that they no longer wanted. She wasn’t walked and was being left in the garden all day. This tugged at Mum’s heartstrings and so began the slippery slope. You see, Mum was beginning to warm to the idea. She had begun to realise that a dog would be a good friend my younger brother who was struggling with many things at the time. It was here that I caught a glimpse of the chink in Mum’s armour and we set about plotting our attack. Within days, and after constant nagging from us, a conversation was had with the owners and it was agreed that we could dog walk the Labrador. Mum just had to broach the idea with Dad. His exact words, and I remember them clearly, were “as long as that dog doesn’t come into the house”. We seized our opportunity and hugged dad and literally danced for joy.
The day arrived when Jessie was coming to play, all be it in the back garden. That morning we could barely contain our excitement. We secretly thought that eventually Mum and Dad would grow to love Jessie so much that she would live with us permanently and our mission would be complete. The appointed time for her arrival came and the three of us waited at the lounge window. Little hearts full of expectation and delight. The hour came and went as did the second hour. My sister kept asking ‘when is Jessie coming?” until the realisation set in that Jessie was not coming. It later transpired that they had forgotten about our arrangement and had gone out for the day. My heart felt crushed and I had not felt such disappointment before. Jessie’s owners promised that she could come the following week but that didn’t matter now. My hopes had been dashed. It seemed like Operation ‘Get a Dog’ had failed. Miserably.
That day, aged 11, I learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes our expectations of life are dashed and along with it hopes and dreams. The day Jessie failed to arrive taught me that at times I will have unfulfilled expectations. Psalm 62 v 5 (NKJ) says “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” Ephesians 3 v 20 says God can exceed our grandest expectations because “He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power at work in me.” God can fulfil those unfulfilled expectations. All we must do is wait silently before Him and trust that He is good, He good at being good and He is good to us.
(Jessie did eventually come, and we enjoyed our time with her. You may also like to know that within 7 months the staunch “I don’t want a dog. Not now. Not ever!” relented and we welcomed a 5-month-old Lhasa Apso into our lives. Mission accomplished.)