Life Lessons from My Dog


So let me start by stating outright that I have an extremely quirky dog. She fits in very well around here and we wouldn’t trade her for anything. But, there are times when she makes me shake my head and wonder about her (and my) sanity. Today, however, as I was shaking my head, a little voice whispered, “you know, there’s a lesson in this….”

Let me explain.

Toni (that’s her call name) loves to follow me around. She wants to be in any room I happen to be in.  Her favorite room, by far, is the craft room. (Clearly, she’s my dog….) She loves to follow me in there because she knows that she’ll get several hours of uninterrupted sleep in safety and security. That’s why she follows me around. I’m her pack leader and protector. (Basenjis live in matriarchal packs. My poor husband is merely the guy that takes her for a walk.) 😉 So this is the way it goes, she’s my shadow…until I go Downstairs.

The first floor of our house is a light-filled, airy environment. I spend quite a bit of time down there photographing projects, eating meals, chatting with friends,  playing games with the family, and just living life in general. It’s the hub of our home. It is also the scariest place in the world for Toni.  Downstairs is full of unusual sounds like dishwashers and refrigerators and garage doors. It’s home to the scary smells of strangers and dogs who used to live here and foods that aren’t so tasty in the Basenji’s book. So, Toni will follow me anywhere as long as it doesn’t involve going Downstairs.

When I head down the stairs, Toni follows me to the top of the stairs and then sits down and observes. She peeks around the bannister to see if I’m eating, or what I’m doing.  Sometimes she’ll even come down the stairs about halfway on her own. But if I want her to come down all the way (say to eat breakfast or dinner), I have to start in with the coaxing and calling. My son suggested that we put her food and water bowls at the bottom of the stairs, so that she can eat and run if you will. My response: “No son, she has to learn to trust me.” (Do you see where this is going?)

It’s a pretty obvious lesson really, but how often do I relate to God like Toni relates to me? I’m willing to follow Him as long as He goes to places that I want to go. I’ll follow Him into those places that bring feelings of security. I’m happy to just sit and bask in His presence as long as I feel safe. BUT, when He starts going to those scary places–places full of hard lessons, strange sights, scary sounds–well, then I would rather just sit and wait until He comes back to where I am.

When Toni comes down the stairs, she gets fed. She gets to lay in the sunshine (one of her all time favorite activities). She gets treats. Coming Downstairs is a good thing. When I follow God into the places that are scary and stretching, He gives me good things, too. I learn to trust Him. He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. I get to find Him, to lean on Him, to grow in Him. He protects me and keeps me safe. And yet, while I know all of these things, I would too often rather sit at the top of the stairs and observe. But, you know what? He’s not going to bring my food bowls to me. I have to learn to trust Him. Unlike me, God is infinitely patient. Where I eventually get frustrated with all the calling and coaxing to get Toni to come and eat, God patiently calls me. He knows that when I get hungry enough, I’ll come down. He knows that my deepest desire is to be where He is. Sometimes He picks me up and carries me, and other times He just keeps calling until I finally come down on my own.

But it all comes down to this: either I trust Him or I don’t. Today, I’ve decided to go Downstairs. (I’m hoping that Toni will decide that, too. But if she doesn’t, there’s always tomorrow!)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. audreypettit
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 08:57:56

    Beautifully written!


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