My good friend is a trusted veterinarian, who has to double as a psychologist sometimes. He tells of a lady that came into his office one day with a small box, in which was a small dog. Doc could tell immediately that it was impossible to provide any care for this animal. He said, “His feet weren’t sticking straight up, but they could’ve been. Rigor mortis had already set in.”
The lady said, “Can you help my dog? I think something is wrong because he hasn’t eaten in a few days.” Now this doctor is a very compassionate vet and knows the attachment that folks have to their pets. So he took the box and performed an examination and gently announced to the grieving pet owner that her puppy was dead.
The lady snapped up the box and yelled. “No! You damn doctors are all alike!” Then she whirled and stormed out of the office. Apparently she had been making the rounds to veterinarian offices to find some hope for poor Fido and, of course, they all had the same prognosis. The receptionist said, “She didn’t pay!” Doc said, “Let her go. Just let her go.”
So off into her delusional world of denial she goes. She goes in a huff, desperately trying to find someone to do the impossible and leaving honesty and reality in her wake. She goes in confusion and hurt, begging someone for help.
As comical as this story is, it is truly tragic and symptomatic of our society today. We can see in our confused world many who deny reality. This shows in the seemingly smallest of things as the denial that there are winners and losers in life, as kids’ sports now seem to be more concerned with the little tike’s self-esteem than teaching them about real life and working through victories and defeats in life. And it also shows in the largest of issues such as national security and the denial of the real and dangerous world we live in.
Even in our personal lives we can block out the realities around us and saturate ourselves with ourselves. It is so convenient today to dress for work, step into the garage and into the car, raise the garage door, back the car out and merge into the rush hour frustration with the radio blaring favorite tunes or morning talk shows.
Upon arrival at the office we can drive into the parking garage, walk across to the elevator and up to the office where there is a private cubical waiting. At the end of the day, replay it backwards to the closing of the garage door so it can all be repeated the next day. We can close the doors of our lives this way and never know our next door neighbors.
I know, that’s fairly simple and overstated, but we all get the point, I hope. We are not islands, drifting through life for me, myself and I. But we are individual people passing through our time that we have on earth and seeking meaning to all of this. The ones of us that find purpose in life have found it in being around others and getting to know them and being of service to them.
These are difficult and uncertain times we live in, but they are the only times we have – the ones we are assigned to, if you will. So, we must make the most of them. For the Christian there is a Scriptural admonition in Ephesians 5:16 “Make the best use of your time because the days are evil.” The days are surely evil and we are at a loss to understand why so many things are happening the way they are.
But we cannot deny reality. We can’t hide for a while and hope everything just “works out.” No, unlike the lady in the story above, there is a real world that we are living in and it is filled with disappointment, heartache and uncertainty. But Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” You can take that to the bank.