What My Dog Taught Me about Faith
It’s been just over a week since we picked up a young pup and welcomed her into the home and into our family. Yes, a whole lot of joy and excitement around the neighborhood. Before I talk about the joys of the new dog, I want to start from a different place, the moments leading up to it all. The story begins months before-hand after the passing of our previous dog, Lucky, who lived 15 good years and enjoyed freedom running around the yard chasing the frisbee, taking naps on the long brown couch, and dreaming of her future dog days. Ok, she might not have a grand 5 or 10-year plan, but I’m sure there were some dreams in the countless naps and long sleeps. Lucky was given so many good things falling on her lap, she didn’t have to do anything to receive them, and she had the freedom enjoying her food (and plenty of treats), the outdoors, and a family she could come always come back too after exploring the backyard wilderness. The encouraging and supporting family rooted in love had her back.
The idea of getting another dog, to replace Lucky, was a tough call. Were we ready to move on to a new dog? Did our scars heal after seeing the pain Lucky suffered during her final days? Are we ready to carry the responsibility?
I had not yet gotten to a place where I was ready to commit, there were too many other puzzle pieces moving in my life and occupying my time. In moments of uncertainty, the easiest reaction can seem to resist or ignore. But over the course of time, the tipping point to move forward getting the new dog was approaching. I knew one thing, I let myself have an open mind and heart for whatever we decided to do, to get a dog, or not a dog, I left it out of my hands. Over a short lapse of time, it occurred, we would be picking up the dog in a matter of weeks. I don’t know where or how, but it was part of the plan, and I was ready for it. The reality started to sit in and my emotions were the first to respond. In a state of happiness, anticipating the joy that the dog would have on my life and my family’s life, matched with a steady and calm temperament.
What’s her name?
Days passed and my sister went to visit the puppies to decide which one would be right and would meet the needs of the family. It had to be energetic, but also relaxed, strong, but also gentle, introverted but also extraverted. I received pictures of the chosen dog and I immediately visualized the puppy running around the house, playing ball outside, and jumping up to my knees when I would open the door. At the same time, I knew the responsibility caring for the dog, cleaning up after it’s messes, and correcting the dog when it would fall out of line. My initial reaction was subdued knowing the other parts of the equation that had to be managed. I was very young when we first got Lucky so my understanding of a dog was different than it would be 15 years later. We were closer and closer to picking up the dog, and we were waiting to agree on the name, and more so, the identity of who the dog would be.
The time had come, after a 365-mile road trip, the puppy arrived safe in the humble abode.
Her name is Kaia. We all wanted to pick different names, imagining what the dog would mean in our eyes, but there had to be one final name.
Disclaimer: I petitioned for the name “Pounce” because she liked to jump around and bite dandelions or sticks as she roamed through the yard. Although it’s not her real name, it may just be her middle name.
The early days in puppy world can be tough, you don’t always have the guardrails of where you should be going, the puppy falls back into its youthful ways of teething and going to the bathroom wherever it pleases and requires the owner to have good attention.
I think what this dog experience is telling me is the idea of coming or returning to faith.
Faith can be a good thing if you first allow yourself to have an open heart, are then willing to accept the responsibility for the long-term benefit and are excited about being present with God in the present.
Our past church experiences may have altered the way we think about God, who we are in, and all that we are destined to become.
The process of coming to faith could be a big WHAM moment, or maybe it’s a slow progression. Growing your faith is a long-time pursuit, and that’s the beauty of it! There is pain and suffering in some seasons but then it is followed by new light and joy. We may have an idea of what following Christ is like, but when we come on board for ourselves and accept ownership, the wonder and awe changes your life that surpasses all previous expectations.
The beauty is in the pursuit, and the continuous seeking of who God is, the gratitude of His grace through Jesus so that we may all be set free. Freedom to live for our purpose and who are destined to be.
Open your heart and He’ll meet you half way. Enjoy the journey.
Tyler Brondyk, Guys Like Us