Monday, April 30, 2012

bear the dog

From the category of "I didn't write it, but I sure as heck wish I had've"... for your day, here is the talents of the late, great Rich Mullins, in an essay written in September, 1994. 

If I loved my Master like my dog Bear loves his, I'd be more saintly than John the Divine... more radical than John the Baptizer... more deeply devoted than St. John of the Cross.

Bear is a golden retriever with a more-than-weird fear of storms, an uncanny sense of how to be especially gentle around children, epilepsy and a coat that is wildly wavy and shines gold.  He has a look of nobility at his 9 years of age, although he still hasn't grown into his feet.  He weights about 75 pounds, eating very little to maintain that weight.  He loves to fetch, especially in water.  He hates baths, but loves to roll in... well, stuff that smells.  He knows Sit, Stay, Down and Heel, but doesn't do tricks.  I suspect he's a little shy when I try to show him off.

An amazing album... with Rich and Bear the Dog
But the devout part... aside from his obvious charm... is the part I most envy.

When a storm comes, Bear unashamedly dashes between my legs.  When I lock them, he attaches himself to whichever leg he is closest to.  He does not run away in a storm, he runs to me.  I don't know if this is about real safety or mere comfort, but I do know that I would do better to crawl between my Master's legs in times of storms than to fake courage or to run for another, no less inferior, shelter. 

Of all the things I've had to teach Bear, coming to me was never one of them.  I've had to teach him not to sit on the couch, or climb on the bed, or beg under the table, but coming to me came easy.  When my friends sit with him, if he gets nervous or upset, they play a tape with my voice on it, or give him one of my sweaters to nuzzle.  Bear not only loves me, he loves my stuff too.  Kind of like I should love God's stuff--His Church, His Word, His stars, His sparrows... His voice... those things that carry His scent.

Bear takes his medicine (for his epilepsy) well too.  I've never been too good at taking medicine.  Bear obviously doesn't like it, but he doesn't resist.  He's only slightly uncooperative.  If I try to sneak it to him in his food, he spits it out.  If I give it to him with my outstretched hand, he'll swallow it.  I try to avoid medicine from God--even to the point of avoiding God. 

Of course, there is one time when Bear runs from me... its when I practice guitar, so who could blame him?  I'd run from me too.  But Bear's master is not as good as playing as my Master is.  Bear's master chunks and plunks away at his instrument in a way that my Master will never do. I have long since given up the ambition of being as good at everything as my Master is.  I just hope my Master will not give up on making me as good at being master as is my dog.

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