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Saturday, June 3, 2017

When Your Dog is NOT Lassie

There she is.  The little darling.

About two and a half weeks ago, I fractured my shoulder while trying to get my Tilly and Emmit in for the night.  It was dark, there was a tree and I landed on the trunk shoulder first.  Several people asked me what the dogs did while I was writhing in pain and trying not to pass out.

Answer:  they went back to doing the annoying behavior of ignoring me, which is what brought on my impatience in the first place.  They didn't swarm me with their paws on my arm, remorseful and sad for my pain.  In other words, they really didn't care.

Then four days later, Emmit lived his last day.
More questions, "How did Tilly react?"  My response, "I'm not sure if she's noticed."

The truth is we want our dogs to be in tune with us, to react to our pain, our grief, and our joys.  And there are those (very few) dogs who, like Lassie, show sympathy and enthusiasm in appropriate measure.  But the reason Lassie was the iconic dog of bravery and valor, saving Timmy from the well, guarding people and property in unusual fashion, is because it is so rare.  Reality, lest we forget, is a lot less than the stories we like to tell.

To be fair, I'm not exactly the owner that inspires Tilly to act more like a candidate for MENSA. Very generous friends describe her as "full of joy."  She's full of something alright. 
After walking around in a sling for more than two weeks, I've spent plenty of time being impatient with not just Tilly, but with God too.  The merry month of May brought more than its share of challenges and I was pretty irritated about it and I let my feelings on the matter be known.  I found myself wishing God was like Lassie.  I wanted a visible champion, protecting me from pain, and staying close by my side while I went through the frustrations.

After exhausting myself with my mental prayer complaints, I remembered.  While the Lord of All may not be One I can see with my eyes, His presence is there, even if it seems elusive.  I just let the pain chase away that little fact. Anger blinded me from remembering God is FOR ME, not against me.  He allows the challenges for reasons I rarely understand.  But what I do understand is His economy is very different from ours, and the means He uses to bring me back to Him (even when I'm resentful) are not bad. 

I may be an imperfect dog owner (and I am), but God is the Perfect Keeper of my soul, and my Protector.  The challenges of May are nothing compared to past difficulties, and certainly not unusual to living on earth.   "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (II Corinthians 4:8-9).  Or, the Chumbawamba paraphrase I fall back on, "I get knocked down, but I get up again.  Ain't nothing going to keep me down."

Tilly has never been Lassie and will not turn into Lassie.  And I'm not worthy of being Lassie's owner, so there's that.  While I may be disappointed in my little dog, and more disappointed in myself, I can't be disappointed in God.  Well, I can, and I have been, but there's no truth to it. 

After all, He is for me.  And He's for you too.  Don't forget.





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