They say you have no soul, my little canine friend,
But, when we laid you down and heaped the mound,
I could feel that I would never fondle you again;
Or that I’d gaze no more into your honest eyes of brown.
Those eyes were deep, dark pools that seemed to say to me,
“Wherever you go, I’ll follow where you lead.
Through life’s disappointments, I will not forsake thee
To you I’ll prove a faithful friend indeed.”
I planted flowers by your resting place, Ole pal.
I unashamedly wiped away the tears.
I bowed my head and breathed a prayer of thankfulness,
That you had been my comrade through the years.
They say you have no soul. But yet, somehow,
I know that you are living on in blissful state,
And that somewhere beyond the border land,
When I arrive, I’ll find you waiting for me at the gate.
That you will wag your short stump of a tail,
And flash those canine teeth in a welcome grin.
I know you’re just a dog, but through the ages you and yours
Have proved to be mankind’s most faithful friend.
Today, I was struck by a wonderful revelation. God does love me. He really does love me. I really think I get it now… thanks to my dogs.
Please let me explain. As I was trying to talk frankly with Jesus (I sometimes imagine He is sitting on the loveseat directly across from the couch where I usually sit as I pray and read my Bible), I was suddenly struck by the realization that I am pitiful. This happens to me a lot.
I’m not a righteous man in so many ways. I don’t love my neighbor as myself most of the time and in fact I can barely stand to be around most people for very long to name just one of my shortcomings. “How can You possibly love me? How could You possibly die for me? How can this really be true?” Suddenly I was interrupted by one of our four dogs as she was attempting to steal a chew bone from her sister. This fighting over bones is a frequently occurrence among all four of our canine residents. That’s just one of the many frustrations of dog ownership. But in spite of all their shortcomings, I love them with all my heart. I love each of them equally. I discipline them when necessary and they are constantly doing the wrong thing. I try to train them to behave properly and I can tell that they would do anything for me if they could just understand what it is I am trying to get them to do.
I think God must feel that way about me… about us. He knows that I am trying to do the right thing most of the time. Sometimes I lose my focus on Him. Kind of like my dogs when they smell a bone. It’s hard to stay focused when there are so many bones in the world. I talk to my dogs all the time, even though I know they usually don’t understand what I’m trying to tell them. They just aren’t as smart as us humans although sometimes they do seem to understand exactly what I mean. I’m sure God is talking to me all the time too and it must be frustrating for Him too when I don’t hear or understand what He’s trying to tell me. I hate to discipline my dogs. I’m sure it hurts me more than it hurts them but I care about them and I want them to be good dogs. I’m sure God hates to discipline us too.
One thing I know about my dogs is that they love me and want to please me more than anything else. I hope my dogs know that I love them too no matter what they might do wrong. And that helps me to see how God could love me too, no matter how many things I do wrong. He want me to do the right thing and He will keep trying to train me to “fetch”. But I know He will love me even if I don’t bring Him the bone.