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Archive for September, 2011

A Dog’s Life

We have a dog. And by “we,” I mean my husband and my daughter and I. The dog’s name is Delilah, which is funny, considering my profession; but then, when I was in seminary one of my professors had a dog named Satan, so…

I didn’t actually name Delilah. My daughter did that. Delilah is a fuzzy, white, little bit of a thing, who weighs all of 10 pounds when she is dripping wet. A boyfriend gave this dog to my daughter when she was in college. You may have already figured out where this story is going.

Yes, that boy soon was no more, and it was time to bring on the next boy. But that boy was jealous of the first boy and of the dog my daughter clearly loved with all her heart, and he was unkind to Delilah, so Delilah came to live with me and my two Border Collies and my beautiful quarter horse and my fish. (The cat and the husband came along later.)

Of course Delilah bonded with my daughter first, and that bond remains strong, especially now that the second boy is also no more and my daughter has graduated from college and returned home to live with my husband and me, but we have also succumbed to Delilah’s charm and fallen madly in love with her. We dote on her and play fetch and feed her from the table even though we aren’t supposed to, and my husband takes her outside every time she sits at the door whining, wanting nothing more in life than to actually catch one of the squirrels who taunt her unmercifully.

My daughter works a lot, and she plays a lot, and she is not home very often. It is clear to me that Delilah misses her, even though she has the love of my husband and me to fill in the empty spaces. Especially at night, Delilah will lay in the hallway, close to our bedroom door, but where she can also watch the front door so that she won’t miss her momma if she comes home. When my daughter arrives, Delilah runs to her, jumping and licking and wagging with all the little-dog-love she can muster.  She sticks to my daughter as if she were glued to her.

We are all familiar with, if not directly then at least with the idea of, a dog’s unconditional love. A dog will love you through thick and thin, no matter how you treat it, no matter whether you send it to live with your parents, no matter that sometimes morning comes and the front door never opened…  A dog is loyal and loves you to the bitter end.

We get that. But have we considered the absolute, 100% TRUST a dog places in the one it loves? Every time Delilah runs to one of us, her little white tail is wagging. Her enthusiasm says what her little dog mouth cannot, “Yay! You’re home! I love you! And I know you love me back!!”

As imperfectly as we love her, Delilah always expects the best from us. I wonder what would happen if we human beings learned to trust God like that? If Delilah can believe in us, can’t we believe that the One we love, the God of the Universe, who loves us perfectly, will always have the best for us?

“If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?” (Matthew 7:9-11)

God is completely trustworthy. What if we learned to run to God like Delilah runs to us, believing that everything we will receive is good?

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Channeling My Mother

I don’t really want to. Be my mother, I mean. It’s not that I don’t love my mother. It’s just that she’s so … how can I put this gently? … old. Not anciently old. In fact, she’s only 20 years older than me. But it seems that something happens to us when we reach a certain age. We grow cautious and don’t care for change and our faces get loose and jiggly. (Not necessarily in that order.) And I don’t want that to happen to me. I used to say that I wasn’t afraid of anything, but truth be told, I’m afraid of getting old. I talk a good game about how we should respect age and the wisdom that comes with it, and I frequently remind the older members of my congregation how much they still have to contribute to the church and to the world, but I don’t know that I really believe it. I don’t want to be old. I don’t want to lose control of my parts. Any of them. But more and more I find myself thinking and acting and looking like my mother. Who is this woman I am becoming? And who invited her to my party?

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