About a week ago some family members, including grandkids, and I were out picking garden stuff. I will try not to use identifying names in order to protect the guilty. Off and on there have been two large labs that visit our house. One is black and one is white. They're big but they're friendly. When I try and shoo them off, they come and lick my hand or roll over so I can rub their belly. On this particular day they happened to be cavorting around the neighborhood when they evidently heard noises from the backyard and thought they were invited to join the fun. However, one of the 'generic' grandkids is extremely afraid of dogs. Except it's a fear that's not that cut and dried.
He's brave when it's on his terms - like when the animal in question is considerably smaller than him or when there's a fence between them or lots of adults around he can turn to for protection. For instance, he's quite proud of himself for becoming friendly with the horses that are pasteured in the lot next to our house. He'll throw a leaf or two over to them to eat or gently pet their nose when they stick their head over the fence to eat our grass.
So, anyway, we're all in the garden, black and white labs join us - totally surprising him. He was caught between the garden and the fence and saw his only escape route to be jumping over the fence. Which he did. His peace for escaping the dogs was short lived as he no sooner got on the other side of the fence than one of the horses thought someone had come to either play with him or feed him. The horse came trotting towards him. That's when I hear the total meltdown.
Have you ever heard a meltdown? The sound of it is about as uniquely identifying as the mushroom shape after the bomb. I didn't get to see the feat that went with the sound, but according to his mom, he didn't climb back over the fence, he didn't jump back over the fence, he "threw himself back over the fence".
I've been thinking about this incident a lot the last few days. I can't help but wonder how many times I throw myself out of the way of something I see coming that I'm not ready for or willing to deal with at the time. I make a choice to detour instead of facing it head on. And how many of those 'detour' times, do I find something worse waiting in the wings? I can't express my gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who allows me the otherwise impossible option of being able to jump back over the fence or 'throw myself back over the fence', returning to a much safer place.
I had to talk till I was blue in the face to convince my grandson that I wasn't laughing 'at' his fears, just at what it looked like when he chose to react the way he did. He finally cracked a smile. I wonder if I were sitting off on the sidelines watching myself if I'd be doubled over in laughter, too. Are my 'detour' choices, and the antics involved in surviving their consequences, as comical as his were? It's definitely given me a new visual to consider when facing some situations.
Ramble, ramble, ramble, blah, blah, blah.