We gave in and bought a puppy.
This makes perfect sense and no sense at all given three children left home to get married or go to university or college. Perfect sense as one of our kids is still at home without those other three. No sense as life could be easy and we’ve made it that much more complicated.
My husband and daughter’s delight at having a dog in the house, has worn into endurance in a few weeks. It is so much like having a baby. She’s cute. She needs attention. She needs training. She doesn’t sleep through the night. She gets up too early. She can be cranky. She play bites a little too much. She chews things up. She makes messes. I reached frustration point one afternoon after sixteen trips outside still didn’t stop eight accidents inside in quick succession. I’m sure steam came out of my ears as I grumbled to myself (and out loud to everyone else) how I, the least dog-loving person in the house, ends up having to do all the training (I don’t), and how my life is disrupted the most (maybe).
Our pup doesn’t know what is good for her. She is learning a bit of obedience, but give her a bit of freedom and she’ll run off, usually in the direction of the road. I’m quite relieved she doesn’t like to eat poop like our old dog Roxie did, but she does like stones and rocks. When she’s outside she looks for them, swallows bits of gravel if she can find some, teeths on stones. She is obsessed with them. Just swallowing one too big stone could mean a lot of pain for her and a huge vet bill for us.
As I tried to distract her yet again from munching on some gravel she found, I thought of this scripture,
…which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9-11, ESV
We don’t give Lottie stones, we give her good quality dog food, but she’ll go after the stones in between meal times anyway. What I thought when I tried to get the stone away from her was how often we humans don’t even think to ask for anything better. Like my dog looks for things to relieve her desire to gnaw, we search for things to fulfill or to make us feel better about life or ourselves, to give us meaning in life, or maybe to escape. We go after things to get rid of the gnawing feeling of ‘there must be something more’. Many of those things end up being like stones, unsatisfying and sometimes dangerous. They leave us wanting. The truth is there is something more if we look to the One who has the answers. What’s more, in Jesus He has paid our ‘vet bill’, no damage we’ve done or has been done to us can not be dealt with.
Just as I get frustrated when Lottie goes for the stones again, how frustrating it must be for our Heavenly Father to watch us! Yet He is abundantly more patient.
What if we just ask?
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’
John 6:35 ESV http://bible.com/59/jhn.6.35.esv
P.S. While writing this I have taken the pup out four times, rewarded her lots for doing the good things, she’s peed three times, pooped once, chewed on a log, chewed on an acorn, chewed on stones, escaped once, tried to bite me a few times when I try to stop her doing the bad things. No accidents inside. Maybe things are improving.