On the Side: April 2022
Mud, Grace and a Super-sized Blow Dryer
by Carol Mason Shrader
The dog groomer took some sort of hiatus. And while I don’t begrudge her time off, away or whatever she needed, we have three dogs in this house. Two fairly large, all fairly fluffy dogs. And furthermore, finding a good groomer in our area is like finding gold at the end of the rainbow. It eludes most and did us for a long time. Finding a replacement was impossible.
And so, in utter frustration, I did what I have done throughout this pandemic, and I determined I could just learn this skill myself.
Oh, yes. I am that girl.
So, I went online, ordered clippers and a giant doggie blow-dryer, then went back and added two books on dog grooming for the novice. Reasoning the entire process was costing a fraction of the cost of grooming.
I locked myself in a bathroom with our oldest dog and began the arduous process. I was confident with Pluto that I would be able to do this. When he emerged from the locked bathroom—three HOURS later—he looked like perhaps he has a nervous condition causing him to lose clumps of hair. I for sure had developed a nervous condition.
But I woke the next day undeterred. I turned to YouTube, a video lesson was obviously what I needed. And so once again fully-armed, I locked myself and my 16-year-old daughter in the bathroom with our rambunctious 5-year-old doodle, Elliott.
Elliott hated the blow-dryer. Hated it. Tried to escape every two seconds. Refused to let me get near his head without Cate holding him tight. And then once he was dry, I shaved for one hour. There was enough fur on the floor to create an entire other dog, but Elliott looked as fluffy—maybe even fluffier after the super-sonic doggy blow-dryer—than he did when I began. But we had both been tortured enough for one day. I gave him a treat and let him free.
No problem. Jessie, our 2-year-old mini-doodle, would be perfect for learning, I thought. She is small and manageable. I confidently proceeded to the bathroom—just the two of us.
Oh Jessie loved the spa treatment, turning her head to the blow-dryer like a fashion model to a wind machine. And I clipped a good bit of fur…but became panicked for fear she would look like her oldest brother and stopped before getting her too short.
The end result: three clean, fluffy, less-than-well-trimmed (way, way less than) dogs. At least they smelled better.
So can you imagine my dismay when, less than 24 hours later, Elliott came running in from outside covered in…something unspeakably gross from head to tail. Head—I mean squished into and all around his ears—all the way down his back to his tail. He smelled atrocious. He looked worse than he smelled. And y’all, I genuinely thought my head might explode.
My immediate reaction was to put him in his crate until I could think of a solution. My next reaction was to lock him back in the bathroom to try and bathe—and super blow dry—his thick un-groomed hair. It was as his frightened-by-the-super-duper-doggie-blow-dryer-eyes met mine that my anger melted away. Bless his crazy doodle heart, he didn’t know what he had done wrong. He had done what dogs do and romped around the backyard before rolling around in the grass and the yuckity-yuck. I became a bit gentler at that point. My words a bit more kind, my voice a bit more calming.
And then it struck me…oh heavens, how often does God bless us abundantly with a fulfilling career making a difference in people’s lives, only to have me whine about my husband’s schedule, about how little he is home or about another move. Or how often in my motherhood—with these gifts given to me by God—do I complain about the work, the hours, the laundry for goodness’ sake? How often does the Lord fill me with His spirit and I walk away to wallow in self-pity?
Y’all, we might as well go on and roll in the yuckity-yuck.
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17, NIV).
“And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24, NIV).
Isn’t it beautiful that when we are covered from head to toe in the yuck, when we have frolicked and rolled around in our self-pity, self-doubt, self-indulgence, the perfect grace of Jesus Christ redeems us and washes us clean? Even when we whine about the hours our husbands work. Even when we complain about the workload of mothering the children God gave. Even when we feel sorry for ourselves about this or that.
My prayer for you this month is that you are willing to accept the grace offered by Jesus, that you will allow Him to meet you where you are and help wash off what yucky is encumbering you today.
So many blessings, dear ones,
Carol Mason Shrader
Carol Mason Shrader lives in Delaware where her pediatric orthopedic surgeon hubby is almost entirely to blame for the number of dogs in their life! Spring continues to not only lure her doggies outside, but to provide plenty of mud for their antics. She is thrilled that her dog groomer has returned and will be getting these furry beasts back to normal in no time!