Saturday, July 10, 2010

My goat is tied out back, thank you!

We have one dog, LuLu and one gluttonous cat, Nala. I am dogsitting my friend's dog, Ellie. If a bird flies by the window, Ellie and Lulu have to alert every dog within three miles. And just the time they get settled down, Nala decides that it is time to antagonize them. She draws the line in the sand, crosses it, smacks them, and then runs and hides under something where they cannot get to her. They just stand there and bark at her, while she looks back smugly daring them to try to get her. Finally, she will dart out, and it becomes a three-ring circus. They start running circles around the house. Then Nala, once again, decides to annoy them some more! She shows off her vertical skills that they are seriously lacking. (Especially, poor Ellie, since she is a little on the chubby side. But please don't tell her. She has a few social issues, and we don't want to make it worse.) So Nala will either sail ever so gracefully through the air, or she will use her furniture climbing skills. One way or the other, she will end up on a perch to which they can only dream of going. Once again, she has provoked them into a state of sheer frustration. The barking goes on and on and on! As if all this were not enough, the ultimate goading comes when LuLu and Ellie get put into their corral. Nala can either climb over the corral, or she can squeeze through the panels. You know what's coming! She goes inside, stirs them up, and then darts out. I swear, in animal language she is standing outside the corral saying, " guys are in jail and I am not!" As I watch these crazy animals, I cannot help but think of the old saying, "They are trying to get your goat!" Over and over again, Ellie and LuLu open themselves up and let this little two pound kitten "get their goat."

I started thinking about that saying and wondered where it came from. According to Wikipedia, this is the answer to that question.

"I believe the expression 'to get your goat' has its origins in horse racing.
Race horses are very high-strung animals. Goats are often used as companion animals, to keep a horse calm. Someone wanting to fix a race would slip into the barn the night before the race, steal the goat, then an upset, distracted horse would run a bad race. Hence, if you are upset and not at your best, it is said that 'someone has gotten your goat.'"

As I watch these animals with amusement, I cannot help but think of how we do this ourselves. Why is it that over and over again, we let people "get our goat"? You know, all Ellie and LuLu would have to do is walk away, and the amusement would be over for Nala. Nala would be left alone with no one to annoy. But they just cannot walk away. They will stand there and bark for fifteen minutes as Nala basks in her glory!

You know sometimes in life, we just need to "walk away." Or better yet, we should look the other person in the eye, say, "I know you are trying to get my goat, but my goat is tied out back, and you cannot have it," and then walk away! There are just some times that friendships are more harmful than good. We need to be able to recognize that and, as lovingly as possible, distance ourselves.

Another one of my favorite verses is Romans 12:18. I want to share a couple of different versions.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (New Living Translation)

If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. (The Message)

Sometimes, we just don't have it in us, and the best thing is to just go get your goat and walk away!

PLEASE HEAR THIS: This blog has was absolutely NOT written about divorce. I do not believe that we should walk away from marriage! I am relating it to FRIENDSHIPS that can sometimes be dysfunctional. Also, please don't think that I am talking about a friend in my life. It was just an enlightening moment for me that was inspired by three crazy animals.

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