Access granted, access denied, access granted

by | Feb 13, 2023 | Dogs & Other Creatures, Faith | 8 comments |

When a person or pet dies or we no longer have access to their physical presence, their stories remain in our memories. The prompt “access” brought back memories from four years ago and from last year.

Access granted

“Good girl, Freya, good girl,” I said as she lifted her chin to give me access to the tangled ruff under her collar. Freya leaned the right side of her body against the deck railing while I combed the undercoat on her left side. 

I cleared a mass of fur from the comb then said, “Turn.” She leaned the other side of her body against the railing as I removed another comb-full of undercoat.

Then the good part—the Zoom Groom rubber brush. Freya stood free of the railing so I could stroke both sides from head to tail. She lifted her head and smiled. Such a little thing gave us so much pleasure.

Access (n): approaching or entering a place—her fur, my heart.

Access denied

“I need to stay in touch with my friends,” my student said tearfully. Maggie [name changed] was a senior in the parochial high school where I taught, a good student, and one of our top STARs—Student Technology Advisers—who assisted at the Help Desk and during training. But now she was in trouble for using her gifts to create a work-around to access Facebook on the school network, a serious breach of school policy. 

“My friends on Facebook are the only thing keeping me going,” she wailed. “They’re the people I met at High Status University this summer. My brother goes there, and my parents expect me to go there, too.” I wondered if their expectations were hers, too, or maybe only hers. 

Maggie wiped her eyes. “I have to get away from home. My parents are fighting all the time. I need to get accepted to High Status University.” I recognized the my-life-is-over-if-I-don’t-get-what-I-want desperation in her voice.

“I’m so sorry, Maggie. This is a tough time for you and your family. Thank you for telling me.” I put my hand on my heart. “I want you to know that you are greatly loved—and respected. That is why the week-long suspension of your network access will stand, along with a month probationary period as a STAR.” 

Maggie protested. “I thought the rule wouldn’t apply to me. I’m a STAR and should get special access.”

Access (v): obtain, examine, or retrieve data.

Access granted

The story continued.

I tried another tact. “You are a leader, and because of that, your behavior is held to a higher standard. We trust you to set an example.” Maggie cocked her head. “You made a mistake—we all do. Now, we’re offering you a chance to model how to own up to the consequences.” I noted the pain on her face. “As for your home situation and future, please come talk to me any time, your guidance counselor, teachers, or someone you trust. This is a big transition. One thing I can guarantee: God has a plan for you, even if it’s not your Plan A school.”

Maggie did not get into High Status University, but Excellent University welcomed her. After her freshman year, she came to visit her former teachers and told us that High Status University’s rejection had been for the best. She had found good friends at Excellent University, academic challenge, and her own place separate from her brother. 

Remembering Maggie’s smile, I thought: God loves us without exception. Agape. That access is all we really need.

Access (v): approach or enter a place.

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  1. Sandra K Stein

    Encouraging post.
    Thanks for sharing Maggie’s testimony.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for reading!

  2. E. Adams Wright

    “God loves us without exception. Agape. That access is all we really need.” Amen!!

    • Carole Duff

      Amen indeed!

  3. aschmeisser

    Things have really not quite been
    that which I might have expected;
    I had gone from win to win,
    and then found myself rejected
    by the field that I had chosen
    in the distant sunlit past.
    Now, by friends I had been frozen
    out; the first had come to last.
    I could have let resentment linger,
    anger of what I thought owed,
    but I gave old days the finger,
    and am on another road.
    Where it leads I do not care,
    for on the journey, I am there.

    • Carole Duff

      And I am glad you are here!

  4. bigskybuckeye

    The teacher in me will always enjoy a story such as Maggie’s. We all have certain students who will always be in our memory bank–just waiting to be opened up again.

    • Carole Duff



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