Friday, July 14, 2006

Loving People

I would like to learn to be a little more dog-like. I think God gave us animals for many reasons, but one of them is to teach us about unconditional love and grace.

Specifically, I'd like to be a little more like my dog. (Even though I am no longer the official owner, Olive, the dog, will forever be "my dog.") Every time I stop by for a visit at my parents' house, before I can even get to the front door, Olive is running from the window to the door and back to the window in excited anticipation of my arrival. And then, when that happy moment arrives when I actually cross the threshold, she literally jumps for joy. She is so excited to see me that she cannot contain herself. If dogs could smile, she'd be grinning from floppy ear to floppy ear! She runs around in excited circles until I scoop up her wiggling, wagging body and give her a good rub on the head. When I put her back on the ground, she's calmer but still excitedly attentive. She follows me around and is happy to flop down next to me, wherever I settle. In her world, at that moment, I am the main event. She doesn't care if I'm a bit tired, or stinky, or dressed in mismatched, wrinkled, outdated clothes. She's happy to see me and she lets me know.

How often do you give that kind of welcome to those who enter your house? Okay, not exactly like that (the wagging would be a bit much!) but when your friends and family members enter your home, do you let them know that they are they the most important thing at that moment? Do you make them feel special and welcomed and loved?

I can honestly say that I often fail at this. (And, odds are, you do, too. ) I have the best intentions, but fatigue or busyness quickly get in the way. Not so for Olive! Why? How is it that no matter what else is going on, Olive will always, always, always be at the door wagging her tail off? The difference between my feeble attempts and Olive's gloriously successful greetings is this: Olive isn't trying to make me feel like I'm the most important thing to her at that moment; I actually am the most important thing. She doesn't spend any time thinking about it. It is a natural response that flows from a deeply-rooted doggy-truth: Olive loves people.

Shouldn't we all be a little more dog-like?

2 comments:

Christianne said...

I agree with the sentiment, but there's one other major difference besides their loving people: they are animals and we are humans. Which means, the stories of their lives revolve around eating, sleeping, napping, and receiving (and giving) the love from us humans.

I think about this a lot when I hang out with my cats. They get to lounge on the bed or couch or in their special boxes with blankets for as long as they could possibly want. When I get home from somewhere, I usually find them camped out. How I'd love to have all that time all day to just sit around and think about stuff, or take a nap if I fancy!

If I think about it too long, I really start wishing I was a cat. But that's impossible and inappropriate . . . because I'm a human, NOT a cat.

How do you think that affects things when it comes to undivided attention on a Main Event (like people)? Is it ever possible to be completely present?

Probably. I'm pretty sure Jesus knew how to do it.

A Lily of the Valley said...

Exactly! Jesus did manifest this quality perfectly. He loved people so genuinely and unselfishly, that when in his presence, a person knew they were loved. The list of examples could stretch the length of my arm but to name a few: the Woman at the Well, Mary & Martha, John the Beloved, Zaccheus, the Woman who bled for 12 years, the Blind Man who was healed.

Psalms and Romans(and many other places) teach us that creation proclaims the glory of God and teaches us to His divine nature, so that we are without excuse. Obviously, Olive and your cats live a simplified life, but I do think God gave them certain qualities to cause us to think on Him.