Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Teaching an old dog new tricks....

Humans could learn a few lessons from the life of a dog.  This morning I stopped in the grocery store to grab some contact solution.  As I was coming out of the store I saw people rushing from place to place, probably like me---hurrying to work.  I looked up to see a man and his "best friend" taking a morning stroll in front of the grocery store.  The man had his head down and was really not "strolling", but rather walking briskly.  The dog, however, had other things on his mind.  He was taking in his surroundings......sniffing the scents of the world.....perking his ears to every sound around him....and totally enjoying his time outside on such a beautiful morning.   The minute he saw me, his head turned, and he least that is what it looked like to me.....and in his own way said, "Good morning!".  He really wanted to stop and visit, but his owner was in a hurry.  The dog didn't know me, yet he wasn't overly cautious and shy.  He also didn't keep his head down and keep walking.  I am guilty of that.  Not always.  There are days when I long for smiles and interaction with others and therefore I speak quickly and smile earnestly.  Often I am rushing from point A to point B and don't take time to "sniff" and "listen".  Most dogs have never met a stranger.  They want nothing  more than to spend time with humans and be petted and loved.  Of course, there are a few with some psychological issues.....moody.....stubborn......and high maintenance.  Generally, dogs are friendly.  Like humans, if they have been mistreated and abused they either retreat or lash out in anger and aggression.  The lesson that I seem to learn from dogs is that no matter what they seem to keep coming back to love and be loved.....and most often, they are the initiator of the relationship.  They are the "giver" and we are the "receiver".  Sure, we feed them and offer them shelter, but, even when we aren't as attentive as we should be, they still want to give us attention.  We could really learn a lesson from that attitude.  People in our lives are going to disappoint us, neglect us, treat us unkindly, abuse us, forget about us, ignore us, and yet we should still love others.  The scriptures are very specific in their teachings about loving others.  Nowhere does it say, "Love others if they love you."  Instead, the scriptures say over and over again.....

John 13:34
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

John 13:35
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Romans 12:10
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves"

Galatians 5:13
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love."

Ephesians 4:2
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."

Hebrews 10:24
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds..."

So, let's lift up our heads and greet one another along the way.  Let's speak to strangers.  Let's smell the beautiful scents around us.  Let's listen to one another without thinking about what we are going to say next. Let's smile at others.   Let's call people we know by name.  Let's stroll, not hurry.  

Let's be man's best friend.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sitting Near the Son

My sweet Lucy-girl is about to be 14 years old.  I'll never forget the day we brought her home.  We had moved into a new rental house in Florida and decided to get two cats so they could keep each other company.  We went to the Humane Society and were overwhelmed at the number of cats and kittens on hand.  It was filthy and sad.  This was a couple of years before the Humane Society had new management and better facilities and care.  We stepped into the kitten and small cat cage and were immediately mobbed by cats.  One was climbing up the side of the cage (made like a chain fence) and when he was up far enough he leaped across the cage and landed on my back!  He acted possessed.  I did not want to take him home.  I had always wanted a large, fat cat.  I looked for the biggest kitten I could find.  He was yellow and quite fluffy.  I had one picked out...all I had to do was find the second one to be his friend.  I found a beautiful large smokey gray kitten.  I really wanted that one, but every time I tried to pet him he hissed at me.  I just didn't think he was very friendly.  Every time I went to pick up another cat I saw this very tiny kitten sitting at my feet.  She was skinny, didn't have much hair, and was every color in the book.  She wasn't much to look at.  I continued looking for another beautiful cat, and it seemed they were ALL possessed.  I've never seen so much hissing and jumping all over the place.  All the while, the skinny little kitten was sitting at my feet.  She didn't make any noise and she didn't try to scratch or hiss at me.  Something told me I needed to take her home because no one else would.  That is the story of how we came to have Linus (fat cat) and Lucy (skinny cat).

We took them home and let them loose to roam in the house. Over the next couple of days we noticed that Lucy was acting like she was sick.  She wouldn't eat, was sneezing quite a bit, and didn't stay awake very long.  It was summertime, and she always seemed cold.  There were several skylights in our Florida home and she would find the spot on the carpet that had a square of sunshine from the skylight and sit there.  When the square of light moved, so did she.  She has always followed whatever patch of sunshine she could find.  It could be hot as blue blazes outside and Lucy will find the sunshine spot coming in through the window and sit in the ray of sunshine.  This morning I found her behind the blinds on my bathroom window sill....the only place in the bathroom with any warmth of sunlight.  As I was putting on my make up I was thinking about her finding the sun wherever it is.  God spoke to my heart and reminded me that He wants me to seek Him like that.  He wants me to follow him wherever He is.  He wants me to seek Him out and be near Him all the time.  Such a simple lesson, but one one that has stayed with me all day.  I am so glad that my God speaks to me in the simple things.  I reminds me that He is with me all the time and wants to communicate with me on a very personal level all throughout my day....even during the mundane tasks and daily routines.

Lucy reminds me to "sit near the Son" and follow Him all throughout the day....wherever He moves.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I'd like to take a mulberry

Years ago (PK--pre-kids) I took up learning to play golf.  I really enjoyed it.  I got pregnant shortly after I started learning.  I took a lesson or two from a lady pro at one of the local golf clubs where we were living in Florida.  The first time I played an entire round of golf was in a real golf tournament!  Talk about just diving in the deep end!  Thank goodness it was a "best ball" tournament.  It was quite fun.  The funny thing was I was quite pregnant during my days of learning to play and I had to learn to maneuver my stomach.  One day while I was out playing 9 holes with my husband one evening, I missed my shot pretty badly.  Wanting to show him that I understood the game and "lingo" I told him I would just take a mulberry.  He stopped and looked at me (I suppose to see if I was serious...which I was!) and then started shaking his head and laughing.  He then proceeded to let me know that the correct term was "mulligan". 

Today was one of those days that you really wish you could call on a mulligan and get a complete "do over".  I went to work yesterday with a headache.  I did everything I could to be cautious and take something before it got worse, but it didn't make any difference.  It got worse as the day went on.  By the time the work day was complete I was a wreck.  We went out to dinner and I came home and crashed.  I went to sleep and had a very restless night.  I kept waking up due to the headache.  I slept a little later this morning hoping it would help, and woke up to find it was not gone.  It continued ALL DAY .  I did a load or two of laundry and hemmed some pants, but did not accomplish much else today.  It is now 10:00pm and my headache is finally gone!  I am so happy.  But, I would really like a do-over.  The one day to enjoy my family and get some things done at home.......gone.  Another treasured Saturday eaten up by a horrible headache. 

I am thankful I had today to rest and try to nurse the headache away.  The selfish part of me wishes I could get the day back.  There was nothing I could have done to change the fact that I have had a headache for two days.  It is what it is.  It does make me think about all the days that I would like to do over due to my own sinfulness.  I am so thankful that God's mercies are new EVERY morning.  We are truly fortunate and blessed to have a God who allows us to begin again.....every day....with a clean heart, a clean slate, and a fresh perspective. 

I guess instead of whining about losing today, I will look forward to tomorrow. 
Great is His faithfulness.

And...I think "mulberry" is a nicer term than "mulligan". 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Window to the Soul

"The eyes are the window to the soul."   This statement is so true.  It was so true today.  I looked into the eyes of someone and what I read there was loneliness and confusion.   I also saw someone who had been wounded and was weary.  Yet, as I looked again I saw a glimpse of joy...a small fleck, but there nonetheless.   I think I know what brought about the sense of joy, and I hope that it was enough to light a flame that will continue to burn away the other things I saw in those eyes. 

The human heart and soul has a depth like nothing I've ever known.  God's ability to stretch and fill that space is miraculous and the fact that we can't really "see" the soul makes it even more miraculous.  Looking into a person's  eyes can be proof enough there is a soul.  I was jolted by the fragility of it today.  It is hard to explain.  We can be tough and quite good at masking emotions and feelings, but it's quite difficult to really mask what is in your soul.  The eyes can show the loss of innocence.  They can show love, fear, joy, and sorrow. 

Years ago I had a "fever of unknown origin".  The doctors had no idea what was causing it.  I saw two different doctors and each ran every test they knew to run.  The last doctor I saw read my blood work results and sat there baffled.  I had been running a 101 degree fever for over two weeks.   My husband had taken a job in another state and had to move ahead of me, I was caring for a newborn baby, working full time and pregnant with number two on the way.  The fever was posing quite a problem because I was unable to take medication and therefore quite miserable.  The tests showed nothing.  I remember my doctor putting down my file and walking over to the exam table and standing in front of me with his hands on my shoulders he stared into my eyes for what seemed like an eternity.  He quietly told me to be very still and let him "look" at me.  He was looking into the one place he thought he might find the answer he was looking eyes. 
I remember thinking that no doctor had ever taken the time to really look at me that way.  I honestly think he was one of the rare physicians who believes that not everything can be medically explained by science.  There are sometimes you need to resort to looking into the eyes of someone and trying to "see" what is underneath. 

I've only had one other similar experience with a physician over the years.  Sadly, many are so overworked and overscheduled that they don't have time to listen to their patients, much less look into their eyes.  Those two times I felt as if a doctor really wanted to find out exactly what was causing my physical issue.   They treated me as a whole person...knowing that sometimes there are other issues that are present that are causing physical reactions.  Emotions?  Stress? 

So "the eyes have it".  A play on words, yes.  I should say it "hit me between the eyes" today as I saw the eyes of another.  I pray that God will allow me to slow down long enough to really see others.