Our recent experience in considering the adoption of a dog from a rescue has me pondering. First the experience. Previously, we adopted our dogs from a pound or rescue by meeting many dogs, then selecting one that seemed to bond, paying $75 and leaving with our new family member. Today for a rescue, we view pets online, choose one, submit our vet's phone number and an application, maybe hear back (no guarantee we will), hopefully get a call for a meeting, permit a home visitation to ensure it is a proper environment, and then pay $200 - $500. I know all of these steps need to be there to help support the rescue and or ensure a good life for the pet - based on the rescues' previous experiences.
It led me to gratitude for God Who knows the outcome of all things. The many animal adoption steps were created with the best intentions and from necessity in our fallen world. Yet they might turn potential adopters to pet stores, breeders, or to choose not to have a pet. Rescues find many pets at the pounds, and can often reach a broader group of people and they foster the pets - all good for the animals! A downside, however, has become that county pounds are sometimes left with the animals who harder to adopt out.
This is not a complaint about the rescue system! It is an observation of unintended consequences. As my boys moved from being excited to get a new dog to looking through rescue options, they became more selective - because they could. A lesson I'd hoped to convey in "rescuing" a dog turned into a designer shopping trip- becoming more about us "getting what we want" instead of helping an animal in need while expanding our family. Earlier adoptions came through live encounters with various rescue volunteers who shared their stories and the background of many animals. They helped us take time to discern personalities to find the best match. Now it feels more like a business deal than people working together for a good cause. (Again, rescues perform great works for pets, this is not a criticism of them! Their primary goal remains the best outcome for the animals.)
Pondering this led me to wondering how many ideas for good things might go astray. Recently we planned an extended weekend in conjunction with a college visit and found the obligatory indoor pool hotel. We then sought new and interesting activities in the area to ramp up the trip's "special-ness." Struggling to see what could "fit in the schedule" it hit me (a God moment!) that what the boys love most on these trips is swimming with us in the pool. In our busy lives - getting Mom and Dad away from home, work, and the phone and focused entirely on them is the quality time they want.
It reminded me of a charity for which my Mom and other seniors volunteered. Their group were together for years and had become perfectly coordinated for complex projects and formed great friendships. Despite serious health issues, everyone kept coming back, supporting each other through setbacks. The charity's leader thought other sites should have a share of their success - a good intention - and so "assigned" half the volunteers to one location and half to another - a good intention. Sadly, focusing only on this one goal killed the spark. The sites had many one-time volunteers who were not coordinated and while friendly and cordial, couldn't share the others' camaraderie and cohesiveness. Mom couldn't recover her happy expectation. The "dream team" each stayed on until a health issue absence, then didn't have the same support. Instead of spreading success, the charity lost these people prematurely.
So I try now to remember to spend a little more time reaching out to God when considering something "more" or "new." I need His feedback on whether "a good thing" being pushed on people for a "good reason" will really have ultimate good consequences. he sees all the pieces, now and in the future. He is the only One who knows the ultimate outcome and is always willing to guide us into our next best step.
Hug your children tight and talk to them about thinking and praying before rushing into "their" version of a good deed. May God bless you and your family abundantly!
- Linda Bader, CRE St.Thomas More
P.S. Did you know.... Blessed William Joseph Chaminade was the 14th child in his French family and followed three brothers into the seminary. Working secretly as a priest during the French Revolution, which killed those who refused a vow to the Revolution's secular values (how they "cancelled" those with different opinions). He survived and fled later to Zaragoza, Spain where formed his vision for the Marianist Society he founded - and still exists today, locally connected to University of Dayton and Moeller High School. Troubles with health and others' vision for the successful and growing Society troubled the end of his life until his death. Not declared a saint (yet) he was declared Blessed by St. Pope John Paul II in 2000, indicates that, along with a recognized holy life, at least one miracle has been approved by the Church. To be canonized a saint, there must be another miracle.