Sunday, September 27, 2009

the smallest member of the family

my dog's name is Maddie and she's very predictable. when we got her she wasn't predictable at all but after 9 years under our roof we can see some definite characteristics that she's taken from our family, ok she's taken them from me. we named her after my wife's favourite author, Madeline L'Engle.

she's so scared she should be a cat.
any big truck that goes by will cause her to go darting under a table, a chair or between your knees if you happen to be standing in the neighbourhood. most of the time that isn't an issue since most of the truck traffic happens while i'm at work so i don't have to worry much about getting taken out by a low bridge tackle by a 40 pound mutt. however, this issue is the most problematic whenever its stormy outside. she's deathly afraid of thunder and lightning. as a general rule she doesnt come upstairs to the bedrooms in the house so that we don't have to worry so much about dog hair all over the place but when it storms she slinks upstairs because the fear is palatable and can be seen in the way she holds herself. the general rule is that when it storms, Ian sleeps in the basement with the dog. that way she has someone to comfort her and everyone in the house can still get some sleep. our basement is sheltered enough that she can't really see the flashes or hear the roars anymore.
she gets that behaviour from reading me i suspect. when i'm in a bad spiritual space i tend toward fear and depression. i'm a worrier. Maddie serves as a reminder to me that i myself have a buffer from the scary things of life and Abba is willing to go sleep in the basement with me too. then when the thundering stops i can return to my proper place and know that i'm protected throughout. that lightens my heart sometimes so i don't really mind it when i have to go sleep in the basement with my dog, i really need that sometimes too.
i remember how much of a support Maddie was to me when i went through a winter of depression not so many winters ago. she thought we were just going for long walks along the river but i knew that she was supporting me through a scary time.

she can tell time.
we feed Maddie her supper at 7 pm and regularly she shows up wherever i am at 7 pm and she places her head on my knee as if to say, "know what time it is? i do." she's very cute. other times when i'm away at 7 pm so that Wendy feeds her then Maddie still tries to convince me that she hasn't had her supper when i return. we've developed a little phrase saying, "she's had her supper so don't let her lie to you."
i'm a slave to my schedule too. i like things the way that i like them and i don't like to be delayed more than anyone does. structure is comforting to me like it is for many. Maddie likes structure too. we go for our walk in the mornings and we have suppertime at 7pm sharp. she's a master of the puppydog eyes approach to getting what she wants. sometimes i'm a master of that too.
how often do i do things spiritually because that's the way that i do them. i find comfort in keeping it the same and when it's not the same i break out the puppydog eyes to God and i say "uh, do you know what time it is? i do." i'm thankful for the daily graces in my life and for an Abba that really does know what time it is.

she's a popcorn fiend.
i made popcorn this afternoon as i watched some football and my dog turned into a Pavlovian drooling machine as the popcorn popped and later we enjoyed some of it together. there's no way that you can ignore a drooling animal as she leaves little puddles (literally) on the floor next to the couch. don't worry i cleaned it up.
i'm a slave to my own desires too. i'm also a popcorn fiend but there are more things that i can substitute for popcorn in that sentence.
everything in moderation puppy (or Ian). there is much freedom available but don't be a slave to anything. one batch of popcorn is a nice treat but popcorn as a meal won't get you very far at all. i really do believe in freedom for the Christian and i think that Acts 15 is a pivotal moment in church history as a battle between the law and grace caused a turning point in people's lives. i don't want to be a slave to anything so i just have to find some of my own moderation of my freedom amidst all the drooling for my own desires.

sometimes when Maddie is doing something weird i say to my wife, "that's YOUR dog" even though i know that dog belongs to me. there are just so many things that Maddie does that reminds me that we are the same, she and i. they say that dogs and owners begin to look and dress the same, we're opposed to little outfits for our dog but i certainly get that beings living under the same roof begin to show characteristics that bleed directly from the lifeblood behaviour of the alphas already in the home. i've looked for a pic of our pup and unfortunately i have failed to find one, you'll just have to believe that she's a beautiful thing to behold ... she gets that from me too.


brokensaints said...

Thank you for reminding me that Abba is with me when I'm scared also. Which I am right now. I wasn't two days ago, but the fear came back. I also have a dog who is a gift from God and doesn't know how much he has helped me survive. He's not just a dog - he's an instrument of God.

shallowfrozenwater said...

i'm right there with you brokensaints. i've known some pretty debilitating fear that Abba and Maddie and other loved ones have helped me through. i'll say some prayers for you through this also, in fact i already have.
blessings on you.

brokensaints said...

Thanks. I'm not good at hard times. I'm not good at believing god is with me. It always seems like if I just had x person there with me, the fear/sadness/whatever would go away, but I never ascribe the same power to God.

and while I *know* that the Creator of the whole world has way more power to heal me than a friend or (in this case) being with an ex, it never seems to sink in. But I keep trying.

And it's good to see a little bit of a gift in the dogs at least.

shallowfrozenwater said...

wow, it's amazing to me how often i've thought and prayed for you over the last couple hours.
God is faithful and He will reach to you in your depths. i'll still be praying.

tracey said...

nice post. i love my dog sophie. she's comforting in a way i can't explain if you don't have a dog you love. i know your post was about bigger, deeper things, but i'm a little shallow unfrozen water today. : )