Several years ago, Jenn and the boys asked for a dog. We already had a cat, which showed up one day on our deck and still hangs around–ten years later. And now, they wanted a dog. My answer was “No.”
We were not having another animal around the house. Not on my watch. Too expensive. Too many responsibilities. And, I would never take a dog out in the dead of winter to “do his business.” Not me.
Today, we have a dog. Don’t ask me how. It just happened.
The only thing I asked is that I could name the guy. His name is Aubie, after Auburn University‘s beloved mascot.
Yes, I take him out in the freezing cold to do his thing. We walk the length of our property for these adventures, and since we walk along a stream we call this, “A trip up the coast.” Every. Day.
And, when Aubie contracted some rare infection, I could have bought a boat with the money it took to save him.
Frankly, I love the little guy.
And, he teaches me stuff. For instance, he imparts to me the discipline of patience, while also sharing the value of anticipation. In our lives, we need both.
Somehow, a four-legged canine is walking me through the acquisition of these two seemingly unrelated character traits.
As for learning patience, Aubie has a habit of meeting someone new at the door by wagging his tail in excitement . . . and making a puddle on the floor. Thank the Good Lord for hardwood.
This, my friends, is trying. Whenever a guest shows up—which is often every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, we can expect Aubie to run to the door and apply his greeting to the foyer. Our trained response is to snag a paper towel when the doorbell rings.
“He likes you,” we say with embarrassment as our guest steps over Lake Aubie.
Looking Out For Us
While Dachshunds are not necessarily guard dogs, we do have hope that should a burglar break into our domicile, “Aubie the Ferocious” will step forth and save the day. In my dream scenario, upon spotting an intruder, Aubie, in predictable fashion, loses control of his bladder, creates his liquid obstacle and causes the perp to lose his balance. The thief breaks a hip, giving me the opportunity to tie him up before the police arrive.
Yes, Aubie teaches me patience. Whether it is family, friends, or a stranger at the door, if more than 92 seconds have passed since his last potty break, Aubie will break forth—leaving me shaking my head. Again.
Of course, we need patience. We need patience with each other and perhaps with ourselves as we navigate this thing called life.
While Aubie tries my patience, his response to a new visitor is always one of excitement and anticipation.
This I believe, should be a hallmark of a 1stFaith we discuss so often on this page.
Anticipation! It’s making my dog . . . pee
For Aubie, the person at the door could be selling a coupon book, a pest control service or just bringing a package, yet this pup is thrilled. One can only imagine his thoughts: Is this my next tummy rub? Does this person have a chew toy for me?
His anticipation is selfish, certainly. But this dog is too naïve to see anything but good in anyone he encounters. Every new acquaintance offers hope, and an endless list of possibilities.
What Would Aubie do?
I need to be more like Aubie. It is easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities, forgetting that every person I run across is a God-given opportunity. Does this person need hope? A kind word? Does he or she need to know more about the faith which has been life-changing for me?
With every encounter, I should be brimming with anticipation over what God can do.
Of course, my response to a new acquaintance—or renewing a friendship–should be more controlled than Aubie’s, but still, every contact we make carries intrinsic value. We need to seize each moment.
Going back to my first lesson from Aubie, I certainly need patience.
Coupled with this however, should be anticipation; an expectation that with every new encounter, God is at work in the life of those I meet–and in me. This is rarely my first thought, but it should be. Perhaps each connection is a moment when God is rolling up His sleeves, giving me a wink and a smile and saying, “Watch this.”
If I truly want a 1stFaith like that of Paul and those early followers, my perspective must be one of anticipation. I learned that from a dog; a dog with bladder issues. Go figure.
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