Denise Grace Gitsham
THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER
The Dog Days of Summer
Every morning, I wake up to this scene, straight out of Pleasantville: a happy dog, sun streaming, perfectly manicured landscaping, and tidy quarters. It’s the most incredible place to eat, sleep, work, and write. Now mind you, we're still in temporary housing, but living here is no hardship. We’ve moved into the beautiful
town of Rancho Santa Fe, where we’re surrounded by horse trails, great restaurants, and people who clean up after us.
Had you'd asked me in July, I couldn't have imagined this ending to our summer. In fact, I’d cried bitterly when my husband called to tell me that our newly purchased, newly remodeled, and newly settled-in home had flooded. Three bathrooms, a kitchen, and my office were destroyed - all having to be rebuilt from scratch. I had zero time or desire to interview contractors, oversee demolition teams, or pick out tiles and bathroom fixtures. All I wanted was to settle into our new home, and enjoy an uneventful, relaxing summer.
Our home represented so much of what I’d longed for all my life: a dog, a growing family, and a pool with a unicorn floatie big enough for my husband and me to share. The flood felt like a kick in the head after a series of big disappointments: a miscarriage in June, followed by the news that our efforts to get pregnant again would have to be delayed. With the flooding, our family was displaced and confined to a tiny hotel room for three weeks - zero relaxing pool time, and no floatie. In fact, the one time we checked out the hotel pool, and a group of 16 year old boys showed up to party.
So much for our hopes for a relaxing summer! In short, our best laid plans had been demo’d, right along with our house, and I was not happy about it. Everything we’d hoped to enjoy in our first summer at home – weekend cookouts with friends, quiet times on our deck, even little projects like installing an outdoor shower - were flooded into oblivion. I was disappointed, frustrated, and overwhelmed with the added work and inconvenience this debacle would add to my life.
The only thing that kept me hopeful for a positive outcome was my recollection of God’s goodness in every “bad” situation we’ve ever faced. In my experience, setbacks have always been set ups for something better. Now, I wasn’t Polly Anna about the situation: living in a 400 sq ft hotel room with my husband and dog for three weeks was rough.
But God showed Himself generous beyond measure, by moving us out of our hotel, into the most incredible temporary living quarters imaginable – a 2000 square foot cottage at the beautiful Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, complete with a yard, room service, and housekeeping. Additionally, we’re getting three new bathrooms and a new kitchen for the cost of our insurance deductible. So what we initially thought was a curse actually turned into a blessing, bringing to mind God’s promise that “In ALL THINGS, God works for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)
Sometimes – always, actually - it’s hard to get past the feelings that accompany the bad, and hold out hope for the good. I’ll be the first to admit that ours was/is a first world problem – a mere blip on the scale of what most people face. But the principle is the same regardless of the magnitude of the problem: everything that happens in life happens FOR us, not TO us. So long as we believe that to be true, we can persevere in faith, and expect the good stuff to materialize. And while it rarely looks like we expect it to, I can promise you it always does.