[AUTHOR'S NOTE: It's been far too long since I revisited "A Hole in My Heart." I seem to go through periods of avoidance, I fear, because it's not easy to expose the dark recesses of my soul, especially when I'm so glad they are in the past. Fortunately (I hope) I have one friend in particular who won't let me forget my story totally, because she firmly believes someone else could benefit from hearing it. I pray that is so, because for myself and most of my loved ones, the story is either known or does not need to be known, best left in the past. So here I go, dear Annabeal, for you and for perhaps one other who may stumble upon this blog and learn something about herself, perhaps avoiding or else correcting a misstep like any of mine.]
I remember the whole scenario as if it happened last week. Frank and I were wandering around the mall on a Saturday afternoon. Of course I had to stop and look at the puppies in the pet storeB I always did. My mistake was taking this one out of its cage for a closer look. And holding herB that was what did it. She fit in my two palms and was all trembly in that spindly-legged, fat-bellied puppy way. I rubbed my face in her downy chocolate hair growing every-which-way, inhaled her sweet-sour puppy smell, kissed her damp black nose no bigger than my fingertip. It was the shiny onyx eyes to which I lost my heart, though. I couldn=t put her down.
He was generous then, and so we took her home. I already had a name, recalled from some novel or French reading I had done. She was ANe Touche@B ADon=t touch@B the perfect complement to our beloved ATouche,@ the French poodle I would never have dreamed of owning. But he had been a wedding present, and I loved him like a childB still the best, smartest, sweetest dog God ever created. And my husband thought he was so wonderful that we should try to breed him, and so the practical reason for the purchase.
We had a glorious weekend with our new baby. Monday morning it was hard to leave her and go back to work, but I did, then hurried home to play with her before taking her to our vet to be checked out and started on her shots. I can still see smiling, bespectacled Dr. RobertsonB we trusted him so, and he was happy to see us adding to our brood. His hands reached out to Ne Touche where she shivered on the examining table. He scratched behind her ears, as all good vets do, then with both hands grasped her small body. As quickly as his smile had appeared, it vanished, and my heart sank as I asked, AWhat=s the matter@ He said nothing for a momentB just donned his stethoscope to listen to her little chest. It seemed an eternity, yet all too quickly, until removing the stethoscope he looked into my eyes and spoke softly, AShe has a hole in her heart.@ tears flooded my eyes, as they threatened to fill his. He continued, saying that she could live a long life or die tomorrow, but that she was definitely not a good candidate for breeding, as my husband had intended. That was not the first time I found my heart up against Frank’s head with no chance to win. I was inconsolable, but of course he was “right.” And so we took her back, and I mourned, but tried my best to hide my tears (which he said were “unreasonable.”)
It would not happen the same way today, I know, but then I was only a child of twenty-something. Then he was my god and king. Then I didn’t know I had the same affliction as that little brown dog. The difference was, mine would be healed.
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us; He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds.” (Hosea 6:1)
READ: 2 Kings 20:5, Isaiah 19:22
PONDER THIS: Do you have a painful memory that could be a metaphor for a significant part of your life? What lesson can you learn from it?