(NOTE: I know the old saying about how the sequel is never as good as the original, so if you want to read Part One or Part Two, they are hyperlinked for your reading enjoyment.)
Seriously. Bacon as a spiritual metaphor.
Just keep reading.
The other weekend, I did something I haven't done in a long time: I made a full breakfast for me and Ashley. In the bygone days before Kai was here, I would usually wake up early on a Saturday and go into the kitchen to fix a relatively sizable breakfast/brunch for us. So much so that we probably wouldn't eat again until dinner. These days, we're lucky if we have the mental or physical energy to be able to pour the Special K into a bowl, let alone COOK anything in the mornings. But, for whatever reason, I was feeling particularly culinarily-driven. So, armed with my frying pans and a desire to empty the fridge of food that was on the edge of expiration, I marched into my preheated battlefield to claim victory.
After the eggs, turkey bacon and biscuits were cooked, and once Kai was settled/hogtied into his chair, I brought the food into the living room so we could enjoy a meal together as a family. So, of course, the literal second that I settled onto the couch - before even I had the first sip of coffee that day - Maggie, clearly feeling neglected and left out of this feast - reached up and grabbed a whole slice of bacon off the edge of Ashley's plate. The very same strip she was in the process of tearing apart so Kai could eat it.
I. Felt. My. Head. About. To. Explode. Seriously - I got insanely, inappropriately, over-angered by this. And to this day, I still can't tell you why.
Instead of going with the gut fury instinct of grabbing her and dragging her into the bedroom to sequester her, I took a deep breath, got off the couch, called her to me, and walked her to the hallway - where I put up the baby gate with her on the side opposite of us. That way, she wasn't isolated behind a closed door, but she was still not in the vicinity of the food we were trying to eat. Yes, it may have been a little cruel for her to still be able to see us eating, but whatever.
After we finished eating and I cleared the dishes away, I walked over to the gate to her. When I looked down, I saw she was laying down with her nose between her front paws, eyes looking up at me, tail wagging slightly, and with an "I love you, daddy" look on her face. What's really bad is that when I saw her, some of the anger came back. Despite that she - as best she could or ever would - looked like she was sorry.
Then, reason slowly began to fill my mind. It wasn't her fault, I thought. The bacon was right there. Yes, she should have known better. But, she acted on her nature and instinct, and I really shouldn't hold that against her.
And then my brain/heart REALLY kicked me in the teeth with the thought "Just like it's a good thing God doesn't hold my sins against me, when I act according to my sin nature. Yes, I should know better, but God doesn't drag me away and force me into separation from Him. And even though I cast my eyes heavenward in apology, He knows that if 'bacon' is again put before me at my eye level, odds are I will either want to or will try to snatch it away. Even though I shouldn't. Show mercy, as it has been shown to you."
This was, and remains, a hard lesson for me to swallow. It's weird, because I always cut Kai slack when he does something...repeatedly...after he's been told not to. Maybe it's because I see him as still learning, whereas Maggie is 10, and should - in my eyes - already know better. The whole dichotomy of where one is a human and the other is a dog? Yeah, not a factor in my logic. I didn't say it made sense.
Thankfully, God is both more wise and more forgiving than my failed self. He never tells me I should know better, He never jabs at me with a comment about how at my age I should have learned by now, nor does He ever lock me away from Him.
Even when I go for the bacon. Again.