Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Close enough

This is my dog Snickers. He's a Schnoodle - a mixture of Schnauzer and Poodle. Technically, he's a mutt. But he's also a great dog. He loves to - as his picture illustrates - play ball in the yard. Or the house. Or up and down the stairs. He's a bundle of energy that we have to tire every day if we want to avoid playing ball all night long. Or we have to put him in his crate to get a little peace.

Lately, Snickers has taken to being more of a lap dog - he weighs almost 30 lbs, so he's a little out of the lap dog range. But he likes to sit on the loveseat with me or with my wife and watch TV.

I remember being surprised the first time he did it. He jumped up into my lap and curled up. He put his head on my shoulder, puffed out a big breath and relaxed. I was amazed. He had hever done that before. But lately he's making a habit of it.

Interestingly enough, when he's that close and I am stroking his hair (he has hair, not fur, which is great because he doesn't cover my lap with apricot fur!) I can see and feel if there is anything wrong with him. As I said, he likes to play ball, and in the back yard, the dog is absolutely fearless. He has been known to run into the rose bushes or the wood pile or even under the shed to get his ball. But his tenacity can leave him covered with dirt. Or mulch. Or thorns. Or at least leaves.

But when he's in my lap, I can see all the crud he's been into. If he's too coated with stuff, I have to brush him or clean him off before he gets in my lap. But most times, he's clean enough for couch time. But when he's there I can see all the little things that I can't see when he's playing. A scrape on one of his pads. Mud under his nails. Crud around his eyes or in his nose. All stuff that shouldn't be there, but isn't really visible until you're up close.

And I clean him up. And we snuggle. He doesn't like me getting the crud from around his eyes, but I clean him up anyway. And the unpleasant part doesn't last very long. I can also stroke his sides and feel for ticks or thorns or burrs that he might have picked up. I love my doggie, and this stuff doesn't belong on him. And we can snuggle for as long as he wants to stay there.

Isn't that like us with God? We get all messed up and covered with the crud of the world, but He loves us, and cleans us up, and wants to sit with us. We often mistake His cleaning off our crud for something vindictive, or bad, but He just wants to relieve the stuff that ultimately doesn't belong. And we can be with Him for as long as we want. And it's only in those close times that the small stuff can be plucked out of our lives. Working, playing, running around, doing life don't allow those little irritants to be removed. We're often too distracted, or don't want to be bothered.

But when we get close, He can take the thorns out of our lives and remove the dirt from our eyes and make sure we haven't been entangled with litter.

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