Friday, October 11, 2013

He Knows Me Well


 Shadow was already six years old and no longer a pup when our Golden Retriever, Bo was adopted.   Due to an under active thyroid Bo was nearly twenty pounds over weight when he arrived. Let's just say he had a lot of girth. Not only was he round but he was also tall.  The first night we got him he rested his head on the dinner table while we ate, a habit I quickly broke. Shadow was much smaller and the only place he'd rest his head was on my lap, when allowed.
     Not only was Bo big but he was furry! He enjoyed laying in front of the refrigerator while I cooked dinner. The cool air was refreshing to him when I opened the door.  Each evening all 123 lbs. of him would plop down in my work space. I would get so frustrated because I could never get him to move. (An issue I didn't have with Shadow, who always found a spot less traveled.)
     One evening in particular Shadow was laying by the back door and Bo was fast asleep in the middle of the walk way.  I was in a hurry and was doing my best to get Bo to either shift out of the way or to move altogether. He would not budge. I tried pushing his dead weight out of the way but with no success.  Finally in a firm voice I said, "Bo, get out of my kitchen." Nothing.  Then out of the corner of my eye I saw Shadow quietly get up and go into the next room. I looked at Bo who was as content as could be, oblivious to my requests.
     I couldn't help but grin.  Here I was talking to one dog and the other obeyed.  Shadow had grown to know me so well that he understood my desire.  Bo, on the other hand, was still a newbie to our home and still didn't understand my ways. Shadow is a border collie, a herding breed known for its intelligence and extraordinary instinct they follow closely and protect the flock. Over the years he has studied me so closely that he has come to recognize the inflection in my voice.  His desire is to please me.  (I just love that little one.)
     Jesus said,"My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me."  (John 10:27)   As we follow the Lord closely and come to know him better through reading his Word and through daily prayer, we too come to know his voice in such a way that we can recognize his desire for us. I don't know about you, but I want to hear the inflection of his voice.
      I think I can hear him now, with a grin on his face saying, " I just love that little one."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Tales of the Tail

               Nothing speaks of the heart more clearly than that of a dog's tail.

      One night last week we had a storm. Shadow and I were alone in the house. It was not categorized as a severe storm, but the thunder booms and lightening gave quite a show. I sat at my computer working on a project when I noticed Shadow trying to find a spot to lay near my feet. Because the project required photographs that I placed on the floor, there was little room for him. The poor thing twirled and twisted around the items at my feet, in hopes to be as close as possible .
     When I stood to go to the kitchen he followed close by. When I walked upstairs he was at my heels. It is not unusual for Shadow to "shadow" me, but this was different. He stood as close as possible, clearly afraid of the storm and clearly looking to me for refuge.   I was a bit perplexed. This storm was rather innocent compared to others we had experienced together, so why the sudden fear in his eyes?   I gave him extra hugs and spoke softly to reassure him.
     When it began raining buckets I grabbed a flashlight and headed down into the basement to check the sump pump. Strangely Shadow did not follow. I called to him but saw him turn tail and run the opposite direction. He is not a fan of the basement, but I could hear his paws running full force as he headed up the stairs to the second floor.
     After investigating the basement, I headed back upstairs, calling out his name. He would not come!  I found him laying on my bed, ears back, tail tucked. It was if I could see shame or guilt in his eyes. He rolled over  in a display of submission as I bent down and hugged him. I just love that dog.  It took a bit of coaxing but he finally followed me back to the computer. The storm continued with Shadow resting at my feet.
     I began to think about Shadow's actions that night. When the storm was at its worst, instead of walking into the dark basement with me, he turned and ran the other direction; to a place far more dangerous. The basement may seem scary but it is the place most safe during a storm. I even carried a light; surely he knew that he would be safe with me, even in the basement.  Sadly, the sound of the storm overcame his trust in me.
    I've had my own  dark storms and like Shadow, I  too turned and tucked my tail  running from the safety of my own master, Jesus. There have been times that I knew he was leading me into a dark and scary place, much like that basement, but instead of trusting him I just ran. I ran to my place of comfort that ended up being no refuge at all. I am grateful that even in those moments God came looking for me and lavished me with his love bringing me back to that place of safety.
     Nothing speaks of the heart more clearly than that of a dog's tail. It seems to me that living a full tail wagging life comes as we place all our trust in our master, even in the stormiest of nights. The safest place to be is truly at his feet.

Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Stop Sniffin' the Spot

This morning as I walked my client's pooches I was once again reminded to stop "sniffin' the spot." Maybe you can relate?
Today, little Zoe, a senior puggle, stopped abruptly and lowered her nose deep into the grass. She leaned forward, paws planted firmly on the ground reading whatever tidbit lay unseen by my human eyes. I stopped and waited as she buried her nose deeper into the wet grass. Being a dog owner/walker, I know this act all to well. Something draws them off the path and like a magnet pulls them directly to that spot. Once they catch the scent there is nothing that will stop them. So, I stood for a while waiting patiently (though our time together was short) as she investigated her new found "spot." The more I stood the more she wiggled her nose through the dewy grass in search of more treasured information under the surface. The clock was ticking and finally I placed my foot gently down near her, hoping to get her attention. Her ears perked up and she gave me a look as if to say, "Oh yes, I forgot why I was out here." No sooner did I pull my foot away and she was marching, ready to get back to her duty.
I don't know about you, but often times I get stuck "sniffin' the spot." I will dig my nose, and eyes (shoot my whole head) into something that will completely distract me and make me lose focus of why I'm here and what I am suppose to be doing. We all have our own spots, don't we; our own magnetic distractions that get us off course and make us lose sight of our own purpose?  We are temporarily blinded to the big picture of our lives, and sometimes the Lord has to gently nudge us along the way. Thankfully he gives us a long leash called grace and is far more patient than we deserve. Next time I find myself stuck on the "spot" I can rest assured that his kind and gentle hand will also move me along the path and purpose He has for me.  So, when life gets tough, don't forget to walk by faith and not by sight and simply put, stop sniffin' the spot.