I am not a dog person. I did not grow up with animals per say (except a short stint with a crazy cat). I was actually kind of scared of dogs. I remember a not so friendly meeting with a very large dog when I was small, which probably ignited this fear.
Our girls have also had a love – fear relationship with dogs. Despite this fear, they have often campaigned for a puppy. One Saturday this past September their campaigning finally paid off. In a moment of weakness, their dad and I conceded. Without telling the girls, we brought home Smokey, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. It was joy, pure joy.
Along with the joy, nothing has been the same since, the good and the difficult. My nice cushy life is suddenly not so cushy. It is true what everyone says, bringing home a puppy, is like bringing home a newborn. I forgot what that was like. The sacrifice, the lack of sleep, and the potty training. Wow! The first week I did not think I was going to make it. Smokey was on his way back to his breeder numerous times. It is a good thing neither he nor the kids realized this, or I would have taken home the UNpopular mom award. Now after almost two months, it is getting easier. Smokey has slowly found his way into the rhythm of our family, and we have found the rhythm of owning a dog.
One of the things I cannot get over is when we come home or in the morning when he greets us first thing, there is this incredible joy. His whole little body is one crazy wagging tail, so excited to be with us. Every single time. There is never a time he shows disapproval or apathy, a lack of interest that we just entered the room. No, every time it is pure joy.
I cannot help but imagine that this is how God feels when we come home to him. I know some of you may find difficulty in me comparing God to a dog. This is not my intention. What is my intention, is the realization of God’s acceptance and joy every time we come to Him. It is His love. This unconditional love that meets us every time. It is His interest in us, in the details of our lives. No matter what kind of day we have had, He meets us with incredible joy. He is waiting, listening, and attuned to us. He is here, and we find ourselves at home.
You dog owners know what I mean. I see it in Smokey when he hears the car pull in the driveway. He drops what he is doing and listens. And then in a second he is off and running to meet whoever is at the door. Isn’t this our God too? He stops what He is doing, lets go of the universe for one moment and holds on to me and to you.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
I saw God today, in crazy joy.
PS. If you do not own a dog, you might just want to try one on for size. And be prepared for joy, crazy joy.