My dog, Shadow, knows it is me coming home when I am still a few blocks away. He’s got that pet ESP. Or maybe he recognizes the sound of my car. Regardless, when I walk in the door he’s in the backyard wagging his tail, whining in anticipation of an ear scratching and a pat on the head.
When I open the sliding glass door he begins to do a little dance. This black Chow-Labrador mix 40-plus pound dog is just giddy at the sight of me. I am not sure why that is. I realize dogs are loyal. But even if I ignore him for a bit, usually because I’m tired from a long day at work and just want to relax a moment before going out to see him, he is still faithful. He loves me when I’m nice and he loves me when I’m distant.
I’ve lived in the same house for nearly fifteen years. There is a nice open space on the other side of the wall from the cul-de-sac where I live. Around that flood plain I have jogged countless times. There have also been many leisurely strolls. When I take Shadow on a walk he is nearly beside himself with joy. Dogs live in the present and he is just happy to be alive. It does not matter how many times we’ve journeyed the mile around the flood plain; it’s always great to him. He sniffs everything. He gets excited when he sees other people and their dogs. He is “doggone grateful” to be out of the backyard and walking with me.
There Has to Be a Lesson
There is a purpose to life. There is a holy reality. Love and service of others is a fine code to live by. Receiving blessings is a sacramental experience. Gratitude is a gift from God. But, this is a choice - we can choose to be grateful or not. If I am not grateful for the many blessings I receive in life then I cannot fully appreciate those blessings yet to come. I might not even recognize them as blessings.
I think I will take a cue from my dog. I am going to wake up eager to face the day. I will be present to this incredible gift we call life. God is going to open the sliding door to my soul and take me for a walk. And it is going to be awesome!