This lady is passionate. She's fierce. She loves deeply, with all of her being. Those feelings are on full display when her face gets all scrunched up and squishy, grabbing your cheeks to kiss them. You can feel it in her body when she runs and throws herself against your legs and hugs with all her might. Her eyes are bright and bold when she laughs. Her love is great and big and wild.
But she's not always that way - sometimes anger sneaks its way out, sometimes she's frustrated, sometimes she's selfish. Sometimes she's just human.
If there's anything that Lucy loves as much as her family it is dogs. Lucy LOVES dogs. Always has. I've never met a child so young who got such joy out of seeing puppies. She squeals in delight when she sees them on television or brightens when encountering one in person, being drawn in like a magnet. She has never met a dog that's too big or too little, never afraid of a single one, she's gentle with them all, they make her melt. Our first dog lived until our older children were 5 & 4, so we saw how they loved her. It was nothing like Lucy. Dogs bring this little lady a rare, deep joy.
Lucy was just past her first birthday when we saw a puppy named Snoopy that desperately needed a home - we chose to bring him into our family, to Lucy (under the guise of a birthday gift for daddy!).
Lucy LOVES Snoopy. She hugs him, giggles with him, rubs him, gives him checkups, lays on him, pets him, tries to walk him and constantly tells us "Snoopy so sooofty".
But sometimes, even though she loves him, she gets mad at him.
Not so long ago our 9 year old had to reprimand Lucy about pushing buttons on the dishwasher. Lucy did not want to be told what to do and immediately turned in her frustration and anger and began to hit Snoopy. Nearly every time she gets mad, her first reaction is to run. She'll run the length of the house, back and forth until the anger dissolves. She's passionate and I guess all that running helps to release her tension. This time Snoopy was the first thing she saw as she turned to run, as a result he experienced her anger. She stood by his side and hit and hit and hit him on the back and he sat there, not moving, allowing her to do so.
As the anger left, it was replaced with another emotion and she burst into tears. I wasn't in the room but when I heard the sadness that came with those sobs I came running, thinking for sure she was hurt. I knelt down beside Lucy trying to figure out what happened. That's when Kate explained it to me.
"So she's not hurt?" I asked.
"No, I think she just feels bad that she was so mean to Snoopy, mom" said Kate.
I had a hard time believing a 2 year old would feel so much remorse over hitting her beloved puppy that she was sobbing hard sobs that clearly sounded like she was in pain. So I asked her.
"Lucy are you sad because you hit Snoopy?"
She nodded her head, then pressed it into my shoulder and cried a whole body cry, tears soaking her cheeks.
"Oh honey, Snoopy loves you. Even though you hurt him I know he still loves you. Do you want to tell him you're sorry?"
She nodded, got off my lap and went to him. She cradled his sweet face in her little hands like she always does and said "I sorry Snoopers. I wuv you" and kissed him on the top of his head.
He licked her fingers, wagged his tail and she giggled with delight!
She was forgiven. The wrong had be made right and she was free - and because she was free, the joy returned.
This story is touching, but it's so simple. A little girl and her beloved dog. There was anger, there was undeserved pain that was inflicted, there was remorse and regret.
Most importantly there was the willingness to admit wrongdoing and simply say "I'm sorry" and it was met with love. Their relationship restored.
After I watched this story play out, it stayed with me. I thought about it and tossed it around in my mind. I knew there was something I could learn from this. This was a story with a profound meaning. What was I supposed to take away from watching this unfold?
If only we were pained by our selfish ways like Lucy.
If only forgiveness was as easy as it was for Snoopy.
If only we were willing to reach out and make things right, show tenderness, compassion and love. Wrongs could be made right so easily and quickly if we allowed ourselves the humility of a child, of a dog.
Love with Passion.
Forgive with readiness.
Lessons learned from a girl and her puppy.