Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Lesson in Devotion and Obedience

Usually, I'm the first person to get out of bed in the mornings -- and that is definitely the case on Sunday mornings. After all, there are prayers to be said in preparation for receiving the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; and, truth be told, a sermon to be written. Yes, I always intend to do that earlier in the week, but it seldom, if ever, happens that way.

The family dog is "family" in name only. She's my dog -- by her choice. Her name might as well be "Shadow," because when I'm home, she's my shadow, following me just about everywhere I go. One significant exception to this is when it's time for her to eat. If I don't put out her food bowl fast enough to suit her, she'll go around the house and awaken one of our daughters, who know that the only way to get any peace (and any chance of going back to sleep) is to feed the dog.

This morning, as I sat at the kitchen table, setting aside my medication and vitamins for the day (an every-day event), she started to head down the hallway in search of someone to feed her. I called her back -- and learned a valuable lesson. I called her to my side, and told her, "Down." She didn't want to listen -- I could tell from her body language -- but she did as she was told, and remained there until I left the table on the way to my office, with her following me there, as she usually does. Once in my office, the door being closed, those sleeping are no longer in danger of being on the receiving end of a cold wet dog nose in search of its breakfast.

This isn't the first time we've been through this scenario; indeed, during the week, it's my practice to close the doors to the bedrooms so that our daughters can sleep, while I'm fixing breakfast for my wife, so that she can sleep a few extra minuted before heading to work. But as I watched the dog struggle with her desire for food on the one hand (or paw, as it were), and obedience to me as the "leader of the pack/alpha male" (which isn't difficult when you're the only male in the household -- the fish don't count, nor do the birds), it dawned on me that she was modeling for me the way I should be in relationship with God: wanting to be near Him as often as possible, following wherever He goes -- and obedient to what He commands, even when my appetite tells me otherwise.

I have a lot to learn. But isn't it funny how the D-O-G has taught me something about myself and G-O-D...

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