Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Frienship Means Forgiveness

Valuable lessons are all around, every day. Like what happened today. This morning my maker returned from her run in a fairly happy mood. She told me the birds were alive and twittering to each other like they all had some winter stories to tell. She thought it would be a good day to be outside for a while after she was done at work. Abbot and I sat in our chair listening to her talk. We are always very attentive. Then something happened....Abbot sneezed. Then he sneezed again. And again. My maker came to him and knelt down to touch his forehead. I looked at her in a strange way and she said to me, "Caruthers, did you notice that Abbot was feeling warmer than usual?" I was confused. Why would Abbot be warmer than usual? He wasn't sitting in the sun. "I think he has a fever," my maker said. "I don't think he can go outside with us today. He's sick." I looked at Abbot, who then looked at me, and I DID see something odd in his eyes. His eyes looked watery, and tired. I felt his forehead then, and yes, he was hot. My maker helped me put Abbot onto her bed. She propped up his head on a nice soft pillow and covered him in a blanket, as he shivered so much that I thought his round buttons would fall off his suit. I knew Abbot couldn't go outside today, but I still wanted to go. I looked at my maker as if to ask her what I should do. She said to me, "Caruthers, that is your choice. You can stay home with your friend or you can still come with me." I was in a quandary. If I don't go, will I let down my maker? And if I go, will I let down Abbot? I decided to go. I gave Abbot a kiss on his ears and went with my maker. Abbot whimpered quite a bit. In fact, I'd never heard him cry before. I didn't know why he was crying. I knew he would feel better after a day of rest all alone.
I sat waiting most of the day until my maker finished work, and then we had such a fun time! I whirled on the merry-go-round until I thought I would throw up all the chocolate I've ever eaten. I slid down the slide again, and swinged on the swing.
Oh, the sun was blooming and the grass was turning green before my eyes! My maker explained why it was turning green, and why the sun was so important for the bringing of spring. She explained that spring was still coming and soon it would be here to stay. I climbed a tree to chase a squirrel. It looked me in the eye and laughed insensibly at me. I wondered why. All the while I was running and playing, I felt a nagging in my stomach, like there was something missing on this beautiful day. I tried to ignore it, but it kept coming around like when I was on the merry-go-round. I felt like I had done something wrong. I felt sour and guilty. I felt like I had pushed someone off of the slide and walked away. My head drooped, my smile faded. I sulked to the car when it was time to leave. "What is it, Caruthers? You feel sad. Why?" It was a rhetorical question. She knew why.

We stopped to look at some cattle. Black Angus they are called. Some kind of Scottish family, I guessed. There were baby ones and big ones and they quietly ate the grass that was growing. When I approached the fence, they backed away, unlike the squirrel. I think they were more afraid of me than I was of them. I tried talking to them. I said, "Hey you cattle? How's your life?" But they didn't answer. Either they were extremely tender, or just too tough. My maker laughed at that observation. She didn't say why.

Next we saw some chickens. I got to go right inside their house and sit near the nests where they lay their eggs. My maker said I was lucky because they never let anyone near their eggs. And the rooster even kept his distance. My maker did not think much of roosters. She said all creatures have a place and a purpose and should be treated with respect, but we should also know when to step away. The chickens were even more shy than the cattle. They skittered away as if running from a hatchet. How is it that chickens are born with an innate sense of fear? All they screeched the entire time I was in there was, "Who's that? Who's that? I'm scared! I'm scared!" They ran around in circles, flapping their wings. Quite frankly, I thought they were a little crazy.

And still, my heart felt heavy. I went on with my outing, trying to see the fun in it, trying to laugh at all the silly things I saw. I tried to find wonder in the blue sky, the sun, the warmth that felt so good on my wool body. All that warmth made me think of Abbot's forehead, and Abbot himself who had been in bed all day, all alone, with no one to talk to, nothing to do. I sat so still on the steps while my maker collected the eggs from the chickens that the family dog, who used to be afraid of me, took pity on me and came to whisper in my ear. "Don't worry," Wiloughby said. "Abbot will forgive you, because that's what friends do when we make a mistake...no matter how bad the mistake is." All of a sudden my face was wet. Wiloughby's nose was close to my face, but I didn't think he drooled on me or anything. My maker approached with her pockets full of beautiful white and brown eggs. She looked at me and her face was somber. "Caruthers," she said, "I believe you have learned a lesson today, haven't you?" I just nodded. All I wanted was to tell Abbot how sorry I was for the pain I caused him. I didn't mean it, I just didn't understand. I hoped he would forgive me for letting him down. I should have been a better friend.
He did.
Until next time.


a painter said...

Oh,dear! That was quite a lesson learned.

Your close relative Jane is living here now and I read her this story. She says hello and don't feel too badly. Abbot is still your Good Friend. All's well that end well--with a lesson learned.

April said...

I love Wiloughby...he is as wise as he is beautiful!