Doing What Needs to Be Done
Tonight begins the 22nd Day of the Omer (May 4-5, 2006), which is three weeks and one day of the omer. May that part of me that is broken in Hesed in Netzach be healed on this day.
Yesterday while I'm cooking a late dinner on a school night, my eleven year-old daughter informs me that Boaz, our four year-old Cocker Spaniel has been rolling around in some poop in the back yard and he smells terrible.
A part of me wants to scream. I breathe, find some equanimity, continue to cut the celery and say to her in a matter-of-fact way, "Keep him outside. Take a rag, wet it, and try to wipe it off."
She follows my instructions. A few minutes later she reports back, "He still smells terrible."
"Keep him outside," I say hurriedly with an edge of overwhelm in my voice. I breathe. "Looks like we are going to have to give him a bath" I say retrieving the matter-of-fact tone again.
The problem here is that our rescued Cocker (we've had him for one year now) is afraid of water. We've never bathed him. We take him to the groomer every five weeks. We don't witness what happens and don't ask questions.
There has to be a first time. This is it. My daughter continues the pragmatic tone, "I'm changing into my bathing suit, I'll get in the tub with him."
I add, "I'll get some treats."
When we let Boaz into the house he has a look on his face like, "I've finally put on my best perfume, just for you. Don't I smell nice?" We're in different worlds.
We get him into the bathroom. We've filled the bath with water we imagine to be the perfect temperature. I lift his 43-lbs. into the tub. We give him some treats. Amazing, he's not freaking out.
I call my son to get the camera. He takes some shots. We're having fun. The bath water is getting very dark (mostly from dirt we convice ourselves). We give him the smell test. We rinse him off. We get a bunch of towels which he joyously rubs his whole body against in his special dance. I use my camera's video feature to capture 40 seconds of his bliss.
My son takes my camera back to my office. I later discover he has put the camera away the way I like it with the lens cap on and the camera case zipped closed.
Sophia proclaims, "I'm going to take a shower now."
I am so proud of my kids. I tell them so.
Hesed is the kind of committed love a parent shows for his child. Netzach affirms that the commitment needs to be enduring, it's not casual, it's not ephemeral.
I think the experience of having Boaz is giving my daughter the feeling of being a parent and her Hesed just flowed right out of her. That flowing Hesed was infectious. My son's putting my beloved camera away appropriately without being asked four times was not a usual behavior.
So the "trauma" of our dog rolling in poop and turning himself into a disgusting thing turned out to be an opportunity for us all to be resiliant together. Just doing the right thing brought us all closer. See BoazDogBlog.