Someone once quipped, God spelled backward is Dog. I wonder if there is not a hint at a cosmic truth in that observation. Could it be that of all the animal kingdom, the humble dog is God's special messenger? I told a children's story at church on Sabbath, assisted by my faithful dog, Daisy.
Daisy, I have decided is a messenger and teacher sent by God for my edification. Indirectly, she has taught me patience, the value of "stuff" (I'm more tolerant to teeth marks on my possessions these days) and the importance of getting up out of my chair and taking a turn round the block to get the old heart going.
But dogs teach us in other ways more direct. God, it is said, has two books. The scriptures, of course, is one, but the other is the great book of nature - God's very handiwork into which he has woven lessons that answer the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.
The answer is not, by the way, 42 whatever Douglass Addams may say about it..
When we adopted Daisy there was the element of divine intervention in how she came to us. I've told the story before, so I won't repeat it, but leave it to say, God decided we needed a dog and sent her to us. I had always rather looked down on those sad old couples with their pet dogs that they spoiled mercilessly and talked baby talk to until it made you want to hurl.
We have become one of those sad old couples. We really need some grandkids soon or our descent into terminal schmaltziness will soon be complete.
I called her "Daisy Pooh" the other day. I swear to you - "Daisy Pooh". It may already be too late for me.
In preparing for my story Sabbath, I wrote down ten things Daisy has taught me in the time she has been with us. To wit...
Everything I Need to Know to Be a Better Human Being as Learned from my Dog:
1. Love without conditions. When someone you love comes home, do not hold back when expressing your joy that they have returned to you safe and sound. It is a practice I promise you will never regret.
2. When you are sad or cold or lonely - make a dogpile! If you want comforting, find a pile of loved ones and make a pile. Nothing soothes the heart quite so well as the collective beating of all those dear hearts at once.
3. Chase squirrels with all your heart, mind and strength! You should do everything you do with total enthusiasm and energy. It's good for you heart and builds strong muscles and bones. God meant for your to do things. So, do them well and whatever you do, do it to the glory of your Creator.
4. Obey your master. You master is taller than you and can see dangers you cannot. Your life may, and indeed it likely does depend on your swift and certain obedience to the Master - if not now, then someday soon, you do not know when.
5. Come when called. You never know why you are called or where you will be called to, but if you are being called, your master wants you for something and, who knows? There may be treats.
6. Expect the best of others. Believe the best of the one who takes care of you. Assume they love you and do not ever mean to hurt you. You will be a thousand times happier if you do.
7. Forgive easily. This follows if you believe the best of others. You're going to forgive anyway. God expects it and holding a grudge only makes you miserable. How much better than to forgive freely and with all your heart now and get on with the feeling better.
8. Rest when it is time to rest. God gives us lots of time to rest. Catch a nap whenever you can. Take that whole day off once a week that He gives you. It's good for your soul, your body and your spirit.
9. When you please others, it makes you happy too.We are made to be creators and givers. Use your imagination and do something wonderful for someone else. Doing so lights us up inside and makes us smile.
10. Never turn down a treat your Master gives you! Our Master gives us only good gifts that are for our blessing and happiness. Never tell yourself, I do not deserve God's gift. He paid a great price for it and it makes Him happy to give you His gift. Do not rob God of His joy.
These sound like New Year's Resolutions to me.
Happy New Year
Tom, Sheila and Daisy
PS: I wanted to add this weblink I recently found to this post. It's a song, video and book called God and Dog by Wendy Francisco. It's brilliant and exactly captures my idea about why dogs are God's gift to mankind. Go to the web-page, scroll down to the video and click on play. Bring a box of tissues with you, however. This thing will make a lumberjack cry if he owns a dog.
*Note: Photo used without permission from Sheila (she's at work), so I used the one where she looked like Kilroy hiding behind Daisy. I'm not allowed to post unapproved photos of the her and this was the only one of the three of us that might slide by without prior approval.
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