It's a small thing. For one thing, they're little. Courageous and fool-hardy; delicate and strong; faithful and independent; spirited and cuddly -- in the autumn of my life, I don't know what I would do without my little dogs.
Now, mind you, when everyone is home, Pixel, the fuzzy one follows Jenny from pillar to post. Helen's shadow is the little fox, Peanut. And Happy Dog, my black and tan mini dachshund, is all mine. On week-day mornings, however, after the front door closes for the last time, all the little dogs turn to me.
I cuddle them, stroke them, and keep close tabs on where they are for the rest of the day. Is Peanut lying with her face pressed into the gate, willing her mistress to come home NOW!? Is Pixel, because of her young age, feeling left out and needing extra reassurance, that she, too, is special beyond compare. At nearly eleven years old, does Happy Dog, who carries the scars of back surgery, along with atrophy in his hind end, feel replaced, because of my love for other little dogs? So, I cuddle him, for as long as he'll let me, then I toss the ball that he brings to me, while he barks his instructions.
These little dogs give more to me, than I give to them. When life gets me down; when I feel helpless to change events or people; when, yet, another friend abandons me, simply because I don't think, feel, or act in some preordained way; then I turn to these little dogs. Something, remarkable happens in my soul. I feel hope, peace, and laughter just bubbling to come forth.
Somehow they know, now is the time to make "Grammy" laugh. Now is the time for all of us to climb on board and totally take over her afternoon nap. Now is the time to tell her just how much we need and trust her. Now is the time for love.
Oh, let me tell you, with these little dogs, my life is less weary. My hopes are more possible. My dreams are not far away. And though I can't change a single thing about this old, sinful world in which we live, I can change the look of sorrow or loneliness or wistfulness upon the faces of these little dogs. I cannot change the world, but I can change a piece of it, for them.
Human friendships come and go. Prejudice and bigotry still raise their ugly heads. People identify themselves with one group or another. I don't fit in. Except for my family and a house filled with these little dogs, I am a stranger.
Jesus said, "I was a stranger, and you welcomed me." He also said, "Not a sparrow falls to the ground, that your Heavenly Father does not know, and you are worth more than many sparrows." As He measures the worth of my little dogs...Pixel-Mixel; Peanut (Bee-nah, Bee-nah); and my little dachshund, Happy Dog, I am certain this Lord of the universe, feels warmed by the love they give so willingly. I am certain that He knows their hearts and their names.
My God is a personal God. He is not looking for prayers that come from the lips, but He desires prayers that come from the heart. He longs for a relationship with me. And, as the Psalms tell us so eloquently, "as the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for You, oh Lord." My personal relationship with the Son of God, is first in my heart, just as His relationship is with me. You see, God is capable of an intimate relationship with each of us, individually. And though my comparison is pretty pathetic, when I am with my little dogs, I think of just how much God loves me...and you...and someone else. Without taking from one to give to another, God loves me.
Dear Lord, forgive my inadequate comparison to describe your love for each of us. I do love passionately, each little dog that you have placed in my care. Each is precious in his or her way. Each is irreplaceable and individual. I never thought that love could be so unique and inclusive. Perhaps I never believed I was worthy of your love. So, though it may seem sacrilegious to compare myself to You, or Your love to my passion for these little dogs, I know You understand. You, who spoke in parables, understand the allegory of this day. Thank You, my God, for Your understanding and love.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008