I had set aside the afternoon to do some urgent paperwork. I had also thought of ‘borrowing’ a dog to take to visit a friend who loves dogs. However, I then had a message from Joan who had just been taken into hospital for a minor operation about an hour’s drive away. What was love in this moment? Who should I serve? I consulted a friend in the Focolare because there always seems to be more light when we put our thoughts in common. The voice of the Holy Spirit seems to be amplified when we share issues together. We realized that there was nothing I could actually do for Joan in hospital except pray, and she may have even been taken into theatre by the time I got there. So I borrowed the dog and I decided to take my paperwork there, though I knew I might not get much done. We watched a beautiful programme and both of us enjoyed the company of the dog and of each other. We spent a wonderful afternoon together.
When returning the dog to the owner, who was in the throes of moving house, he mentioned “by chance” that he was having a lot of surplus furniture collected the following day. Included in the list was a large chest of drawers. I didn’t need any of it and nor did my friends when I asked them.
A few minutes after I got home I happened to hear “by chance” through a phone call that a mutual friend of ours, Irene, a young mother of three young children in a nearby town had been looking for a chest of drawers for some time but couldn’t spend a lot of money on a new one. Having measured it and taken a photo I contacted Irene who said it was just what she had been looking for. However the delivery had to be arranged for the same day as the removal from my neighbour’s house – otherwise there was nowhere to store it. It all had to be sorted by the following morning! This was a problem as we had no means of transporting such a large item at such short notice and also both Irene and I would be at work that day so no one would be in her house.
I rang the removal company and explained the situation. I was put through to the manager. They offered to deliver the chest of drawers to Irene free of charge, even though they normally never collect or deliver anywhere except locally here in Welwyn Garden City. I said “Of course you’ll be charging for petrol”, but they refused to accept any payment at all, as they were just happy to help. I said “Of course you would not be expected to carry it upstairs” and the manager was almost affronted: “Of course we will carry it upstairs!” So then I had to think how to solve the problem of no one being at the house to open the door to the removal men.
Meanwhile one of Irene’s neighbours had called in “by chance” while I was on the phone to Irene about the arrangements. When the neighbour heard about the problem she offered to be available all day to meet the delivery men, and to show them where the chest of drawers was to go. When Irene and the children came home they were thrilled to find it in place in the bedroom! It couldn’t have gone more smoothly!
I shouldn’t ever be amazed – but I am – at how great God’s love is, and how it often snowballs from a seemingly unimportant decision of doing just one small act of love with a dog.