I don’t know about you but I’ve needed a lot of comforting in these past months. Collectively, we’ve all been impacted by some of the reasons why this is true. We’ve also had our own unique reasons that have nothing to do with world or national events. Like most of you, I had high hopes for turning the page on my calendar to 2021. Good riddance to 2020! And then…THAT happened.
As I sat watching the events unfold at the Capitol that Wednesday (I’m stubbornly calling it December 37th, 2020) and now its aftermath, I was overcome with a sadness that left me exhausted. It was just too much. And then I looked over and saw one (well, two actually) of God’s best creations, a dog.
I have two dogs, Sidney and Lanier, who are like most dogs - perfect. They greet me after a long day of work as if they haven’t seen me in a month. Such jumping! Such wiggling of fannies! Such joy and celebrating! It makes me smile just to think about it – if you have a dog, you’re probably smiling too. (If you have a cat, I can’t help you…I don’t understand cats.) What’s even better about dogs is that they do the SAME thing when I come back in from getting the mail! Well, maybe not exactly the same but very close.
You’ve never seen such ball fanatics in your life! Part of Sidney’s greeting routine is to get a ball first and then come to the door and proceed with the jumping and wiggling. He’s ever hopeful that there will be a game of fetch, even when 9 times out of 10 there is not. When I suggest a walk, it’s as if I asked if they would like to go to Disney World! Que the balloons and confetti! Woo hoo!!! How could all of this not lift the human spirit, even during the gloomiest of days?!
My boys are also very, very good at understanding human emotions. Somehow, they understand when it’s not the right time for a walk or a game of fetch. These little fellas have sat with me during some very dark times in my life. They will notice that something is not quite “right” and will look at me very intently. Then one or both will sit as close to me as they can. Sometimes they try to crawl up on my shoulders which is sweet but not really helpful (I think they’re trying to hug me). Then we just sit. Together. They make sure they are touching me at least a little bit, even if it’s just with one little paw. Isn’t that what we are meant to do in times of trouble – comfort one another? No words are spoken but their presence and love are enough. We can learn a lot from our pets.
So you see, when God set out to make this creature called a “dog” (which is GOD spelled backwards – not a mistake, I don’t think!), he took all the best qualities out of his toolbox – love, joy, hope, loyalty, faithfulness, happiness, playfulness, kindness, empathy AND patience.
Indeed, they are truly man and woman’s best friend.