By Elisa Morgan
I wanted something BIG to do.
After twenty years as CEO of an international parachurch – day in day out leading a ministry that swept me under the wake of its growth more than once – I found a welcoming slowing and then gradually…a restless inertia.
Okay, I transitioned a print magazine to digital delivery. I forged real relationships with virtual co-workers. I paid bills and licked stamps and walked envelopes to my curbside mailbox. The budding ministry was – just that: budding but not yet in full bloom.
I had time on my hands.
Mercy, you say, really? Give me some! Who has TIME on their hands?
Not really hours or days or even big 30 minute slots. I still traveled to various speaking engagements, kept up with a zillion emails, picked up my 5 ½ year old grandson at kindergarten and squished Play Doh into snakes and pasta and meatballs on my kitchen island. I did the laundry and cleaned out files and met friends for mentoring – both for them and for me.
But there was something missing inside me. And every time I peered into the hollow hole to investigate it further – you know to like say “GOD WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO CALL ME NEXT AND JUST EXACTLY WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?” I’d get a still, small voice response along the lines of “Chill, Elisa.”
I wanted something BIG to do.
I couldn’t rush the growth of FullFill™. Relationships take time. There was only so much money to invest in the next issue. Women can only read online for so long.
I couldn’t push the purchase of my new book, She Did What She Could. It was, afterall, a book focused on doing the next thing, not everything.
I couldn’t even hire myself. I didn’t have enough seed money.
So I listened to an urge that had begun to grow more loudly each month. It had first appeared last spring when I was caring for my adult son’s 90 pound Rottweiler, Darla. Yep. 90 pounds. (I weigh about 110. Shut up – it’s genetic. I take no credit whatsoever.)
Now before I go any further, I need to let you know that I didn’t even like dogs. Anyone could tell you that. Dogs bite me. I don’t know why but they always have and still do.
But in a motherly moment when I agreed to help out my adult son, Darla came to live with my husband, Evan and I for several months. She wolfed down dogfood in our laundry room and pranced around our area rug covered hardwood floor in her pink leather collar. She put her head under my elbow and nudged me to pet her as I typed on my keyboard. She slept in a crate in our bedroom. After a few weeks I’d wake to the sound of my middle aged husband cooing “Good Girl” through the wires of her crate in the morning, releasing her to stretch and yawn and then cajoling her to stillness while he fastened her “jewelry” in place. He was besotted.
Every day – in my new work wardrobe of pajamas or workout clothes, I’d eye the clock and arrange my phone appointments until it was mid-afternoon where Darla would magically appear and I’d know it was time to head out for our walk in the wild behind our house. When we hit the grass, I’d let her off leash and watch with a strange contentment as she ran, free and happy.
One late afternoon as I returned I was focused on my life – or lack of one – and my eyes scanned only the ground beneath the feet. I looked up just at the last second to see two ENORMOUS Akitas hurtling toward me – off leash. There was no human companion in sight. On her Gentle Leader, Darla froze. So did I. Did I mention I never liked dogs? That they bite me?
In seconds, the attack Akitas pounced on Darla. I railed up like a giant grizzly and howled - screamed - yelled for them to GET OFF! One bit my leg before heading for the bushes. Stunned and shaken, Darla and I turned to each other and examined our wounds. We were both bleeding, but okay and limped home where we nuzzled each other like two siblings of the same species.
About a month later when it was time for Darla to return to my son, it was hard to let her go. She had brought something meaningful and distracting and joyful and purposeful and BIG into my days. Her absence tore a new hole into my life.
A few weeks ago I completed my fall speaking schedule and looked at the yawning weeks of home work – back at my computer and decided – I needed something BIG to do. Knowing that God was not yet calling me to the next spot of ministry but rather to continue in the work where he had placed me for this season, I went hunting. I came home with a Rottie Wannabe. I named him Wilson because his favorite thing in life, besides me, is a tennis ball. He’s three years old, a Rottie/Lab Mix, and weighs about 75 pounds. He’s BIG enough.
And as life would have it, three weeks after Wilson became mine, Darla returned for another extended stay. So now we have two crates. Two harnesses. Two leashes. And if you see me out in the wild, you’ll see me happily being pulled along sans sled by two black and tan giants that look and act NOTHING like Akitas. (No offense to any Akita fans…)
That’s BIG times two. BIG squared. BIG on steroids. Uber-BIG. Ah,,,aint it grande?