“Honey,” my husband said, “what about the dog?”
We had just parked the car in our driveway and he had gotten out and headed to the mailbox.
I had gathered my purse, my drink, my phone and my sunglasses and began walking toward the front door. I was worn down after an especially long day but also intently focused on the dinner that still needed to be made and the inbox full of emails still waiting to be answered. I needed to water the garden. There was an appointment that needed to be rescheduled before the doctor’s office closed in 15 minutes. Keep going, keep pushing, keep checking things off the list.
As my husband looked at me quizzically, I suddenly realized that our 12-year-old, 75-pound lab was still in the back seat of the car I had just walked away from. The temperature was in the mid-90s. I had completely forgotten he was there.
At that moment, a little voice in my head insisted that I would have remembered, that I would have rushed back to the car and gotten him out within seconds of walking in the front door and realizing what I had done. That nothing terrible would have happened.
That is what I want to believe. But then I think about if the distractions had continued — if the phone rang as soon as I got in the house, if something else had demanded my immediate attention, if my husband had not reminded me about the dog — what could have happened?
We all say that things like this would never happen to us— heck, I’ve said that. And yet there I was.
I could make excuses: The dog was sluggish after a minor surgery and unusually quiet. We rarely have him in the car at that time. It had been such a very, very long day.
All of them are just that excuses. I try to use moments like these to remind myself to slow down and to focus, but also to extend a measure of mercy to others who make mistakes I cant fathom I would ever commit.
“There but for the grace of God go I,” the English reformer John Bradford is remembered for saying.
Buddy, don't I know it.