I had a dream last night that Dave and I were in our SUV, and he drove off a cliff. Scary, right? Dreams like that can be terrifying, as many of us who dream vividly can attest. What was interesting to me about this dream was that, as the vehicle careened off the road and over the cliff to what would most certainly culminate in a certain death, Dave and I grasped hands and began praying---for our loved ones, thanking God for the gift of our marriage and our time together, and asking for care to be taken for our pups. In other words, we were most certainly scared but our first instinct was to pray.
I have always enjoyed analyzing my own dreams and the dreams of others as well, but I have no idea what prompted this one. The one thing I know for certain is that I am grateful for our faith. Dave and I were talking, the other day, about the trajectory of my career path (his current "job", as he likes to tell people all the time, is to go to the golf course every day and try to earn some bets he and the guys make on their games---please ignore my eye roll).
I knew when I was six years old that I not only wanted to become, but HAD to become, a teacher. It was simply a passion that had wormed its way into my genetic make-up and took hold of everything I did---playing school with my stuffed animals, analyzing the teaching styles of every teacher I had (making note of which traits I would want to keep or discard), writing papers about what I imagined teaching would be like in 8th grade, and even beginning to work with special education students in 8th grade during a "free period". This grace from God about knowing what I wanted to do was bestowed upon me at an incredibly early age, but who would know where that dream would take me? (not the dream I had last night---I'm pretty certain I know where that SUV landed---luckily, I woke up before it did and while we were still praying---it must have been a long fall)
From teaching to counseling to school leadership to teaching at universities to consulting and leading workshops all over the world, I am now wondering what grace God will bestow upon me next.
What I do know about grace has also hit me smack-dab in the middle of my heart through working with the rescue organization in Arizona called Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue. We get Labs (or some semblance of a Lab, at times) from Mexico, owner turn-ins, kennels who call and say the dog is days away from being euthanized. We get them to a vet who examines them and ensures they get the proper medical care necessary to then be placed in foster care until the foster family deems the pup ready to go out for adoption. Dave and I have successfully adopted out 16 Labs so far. We "foster-failed" once, which means we meant to only foster little 6 week old Kirby 3 years ago, but ended up adopting him ourselves (because we are crazy, is what Dave says).
Three weeks ago, a 5 year old yellow Lab was rescued from the streets of Nogales, literally hours away from dying of starvation, dehydration, and neglect. She was brought to Tucson, where pictures of the most emaciated dog you can possibly imagine were put out on our rescue website. Dave and I didn't think twice---we immediately volunteered to foster her, if she were to live through the night and get the care she needed from the vet in the upcoming weeks. They said they hadn't named her. I immediately asked if we could name her Grace or Gracie, as it could only be for the grace of God that this poor creature was still alive.
Three weeks later, Gracie has undergone two blood transfusions, one splenectomy, and multiple bouts of medications and antibiotics to get her to a semi-healthy state. We went to see her yesterday (we have visited her about five or six times so far, and her tail wags now when she sees us because we are the "chicken people"---we cook chicken to bring to her) and the transformation is nothing short of a miracle. She truly is Amazing Gracie.
Just for today, perhaps you can find those moments of grace in your own life. I pray blessings upon all the educators who go back to work tomorrow after having a much-needed rest. And I pray that each one of you knows how very much you are needed in the lives of children today. Finally, Dave and I covet your prayers for Amazing Gracie, that she may get to come home with us very, very soon.