The following post was written for the monthly email newsletter of St. John’s Cathedral

After watching our final film of the Reel Theology 2016 series, Inside Out (highly recommended to families with kids, no kids, and grown kids alike), I was struck by the way our emotions play on each other to allow us to fully process a moment.

Krista and I want a dog. I have been patiently waiting since before we were married, as Krista, rightly so, had put the hold on the procuring of a dog until we were somewhere we had begun to establish ourselves. That was the right call at the time (as much as I moaned about it) but now is the right time to get one. We have been patiently scouring the various shelter websites for the past month-plus, until we finally found THE ONE.

So, we did our research on his breed mix, we talked with the workers at the human society, we met him, and took him out to play. And, unfortunately, he was not THE ONE. There was nothing wrong with him, he was a good dog, but he was not the right dog for us and our idea of what a dog should be. This was very disappointing. It was also, in a weird way, relieving.

It was disappointing because we both were ready to adopt a dog on that visit. It was disappointing because he was a good dog that had lots of energy, and seemed to be generally happy. But, it was also relieving because it just didn’t feel right.

It’s weird how our emotions play off of each other. How we can be terribly disappointed that what we thought we wanted does not work out, and yet, in that same instant we can be happy, or to use the movie’s term, joy-full, because we realize what we actually want. That’s the kicker to this. This experience of a near doggie adoption helped us truly understand what it is we want from our dog. What a gift that is, to know what we want, and to know that when we find that dog, that we will not be disappointed down the road.

I think experiencing disappointment is a healthy and important aspect of our lives. Without disappointment, we would not know if what we want is actually what we want. And, even when disappointment follows because we do not get what we want and the disappointment is in realizing that it truly is what we wanted all along, that creates an affirmation that we can work harder to achieve it down the road.

So, I’m thankful for a dog named Bear, because even though we were not able to bring him home, he taught us what we really want in the future. He made us disappointed that he was not THE ONE, but also grateful that we did not commit to the dog who was not right for us. I pray that he finds the home where he truly will be THE ONE they’ve always been looking for.

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