It was 10:45 pm on a Saturday night when my cell phone rang.
I told Cathy, “It’s Pam. She’s probably butt-dialing. If it’s important she’ll leave a message.”
1 missed call. 1 new voicemail: Pam sounded distraught. “Peter. My Destiny is gone. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know where to look. Please call me when you get this.”
After I brushed my teeth I started putting my shoes back on.
Cathy, cozy under the bed covers, asked, “What are you doing?”
“I have to help Pam find Destiny.”
As I approached Pam’s house I saw her frantically and aimlessly walking her two little dogs in the street. When I got out of my car Pam unloaded a verbal barrage of anger-fueled desperation on me.
“Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Pam, calm down.”
“I can’t Peter. You know Destiny is my life. I can’t lose her. I can’t. Not this way!”
“We’re going to find her, but you have to calm down. She is not going to come to you if you are this upset.”
Unfortunately, I have experience assisting people in their search for a lost dog. Fortunately, I have been able to assist in creating joyous reunions as well.
Pam was frantic, didn’t have experience in this situation, and to put it bluntly, she was kind of useless while we searched for Destiny. Pam is a very good friend, and I would say this to her face too.
I had two jobs: 1. Be the friend Pam needed. 2. Find Destiny.
It was a weekend night and the neighborhood was alive with wandering teenagers and a “happening party” around the corner from Pam’s house.
“We gotta head toward the party, Pam.”
“I’ve already walked that way. I didn’t see her; she’s not over there. Peter, oh my god, I can’t lose her…”
As we approached the house which hosted the party, I heard a faint bark that was overshadowed by my attention to Pam’s words. My attention was also focused on two girls who were approaching the party. I asked them if they had seen Destiny. They did not, but they said they would let everyone in the party know to keep an eye out for her.
I told them Pam’s address, and pointed just around the corner.
As Pam and I regrouped at her house, two people (from the party) approached and said, “I think we know where your dog is. A neighbor might have her in his backyard.”
Pam, and the good samaritans, were overjoyed with the potential for a happy reunion as we walked with a fevered pace back toward the party.
Bark. Bark. Bark. Bark.
“Oh my god! Peter, that’s Destiny. I hear her. Where is she? That’s her bark!”
It was the same faint bark that I had heard about 30 minutes earlier, but Pam’s frenzied state of mind didn’t allow her to hear the bark before. And, I wasn’t familiar enough with Destiny’s bark to recognize it.
Pam reunited successfully with her Destiny.
The moral of this story: Sometimes, when we submit to a minor inconvenience (looking for a lost dog when you are ready for bed) we can have an enormous effect (you-have-no-idea-how-much-this-means-to-me) on the well-being of a friend.
We all have a set of tools and experiences that we may not value much. However, others may regard our tools as immensely valuable and treasure them as gifts.
So I ask you: What seemingly unimportant gifts do you have that others cherish? What minor inconveniences can you tolerate to change the life of another, and help a friend or maybe even a stranger?
I encourage you: Please, be proud of who you are. Share your gifts. Share your experience. Share your time and effort.
Although you may lose a few hours of sleep, you may just help someone (and a dog) rest peacefully for a few more years.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.