I've just got back to Sydney in Australia after spending a month overseas looking after my old father who had yet another big operation on his spine. Wasn't too bad as I got on WWGHA most days to keep my mind stimulated. Two days ago as I was getting ready to leave for the airport to fly home my old mother came to me with tears in her eyes to ask me to come back to God. She was very emotional and gave me a piece of paper with a prayer she had written for me - I didn't read it fully at the time but it said words to the effect that God was always with me, God constantly loves me, and there would be rejoicing when I found my way back to Him. Anyway, I wanted to focus on the farewell, they're old people and I never now when it will be the last time I see them, so I put the prayer in my wallet saying I would read it later, and carried on saying goodbye. My mother kept talking God, repeating several times: "I'm so sure." When I left I could tell my mother was hurt that I hadn't succumbed on the spot to her prayer.
I had a two-stage flight, one domestic from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and the second a few hours later was an international flight from Johannesburg Oliver-Tambo airport back to Sydney. As I was entering the security screening for the second international flight I realised my wallet was missing, along with about $800 cash in various currencies, credit cards, drivers licence, business cards, and of course the prayer. The moment I realised my wallet was gone was a pretty sick panicky feeling and I got considerably stressed out. It could've been lost on the first flight or maybe it was taken by a pick pocket - this was the notorious Oliver Tambo airport after all and I'd had a couple of interactions (none initiated by me) with people standing around as I'd walked through the airport from domestic to international. Anyway, to cut a long story short I made my way back to the domestic terminal and asked the police what to do - they told me to report it to Lost Baggage which I did. There they called ground staff busy cleaning the plane I'd just come in on but there was nothing. And they expressed little hope of me seeing the wallet again, given the amount of cash in it. Feeling even more stressed I then had to rush to get onto my international flight in time.
Flying home was shithouse, I got no sleep. The plane was full and I was sandwiched between the galley and an extremely large person, whose flesh flowed under and over the arm rest between us. The noisy activity in the galley was bad enough but the flight crew kept bumping into my shoulder that was forced way out into the aisle by the lump of flesh invading my space on the other side. As I sat there for 13 hours being squashed and bumped the nightmare feelings I'd had when discovering my wallet was missing kept revisiting me.
My wife picked me up at the airport. That was marvellous and I felt so happy and calmed at seeing her after a month away. But on the way home as I recounted the experiences of the journey the feeling of stress returned. Finally at home as I was lifting my luggage out of the car my dog spotted me through the window from inside the house. He went ballistic, rushing between the window and the front door, alternating between barking, yelping, snorting at the door trying to get a whiff of me and whining because he couldn't get to me. When at last the front door was opened he burst through the gap and shot right through between my legs, turned round and again burst through my legs from behind. Then he began a spastic wiggling dance - choreographed mainly by his wagging tail
I dumped my bags and went down on all fours to be at his level. He licked me fifty times a second and frolicked around me, even giving me a little love bite on the hand. He dashed in and out of the arches made by my legs and arms and then quickly outside the still open door to announce wowo-wooo! into the sky. Half a dozen dogs in the neighbourhood replied excitedly and he dashed back underneath me for more licking and frolicking. After a while he settled a little and I tried to draw him close for a cuddle - but he wriggled free and dashed away only to return in milliseconds with a ball in his mouth, ready to play. As a family we all played with the dog for several gorgeous laughing bonding minutes.
He stayed close to me as I brought the rest of my luggage inside, and when I stopped to give my daughter another long hug I felt his paws up on my leg as he stood up to be part of the affection. By this time the stress I'd been travelling with had completely evaporated, and I could focus on priorities. I checked online to see if there had been any transactions on my credit cards and banking accounts, and ordered new cards. More cuddles with my girls and then the tiredness got to me so I went for an afternoon nap. As I lay there my dog jumped up on the bed and came to my face - he put his paws on my chest and stared down into my eyes, long and steady. His nose twitched as he took in my smells. Then he turn and settled against my side, pressing hard against me. He took a long stuttering breath in and then sighed deeply and audibly. And we both slept deliciously for a couple hours till I woke fresh and with energy to continue my unpacking and catch up with the household.
Now I'm not saying or even thinking in any way that the prayer had anything to do with my wallet going missing. But the irony of the sentiment of the prayer doesn't escape me.
What I am saying is that the evidence is in (yet again) - my little godless family and especially as exemplified by my dog - that's where the real love is!