Day 11: Love and Loyalty; Jesus and Dogs.

All day I’ve been thinking about what I would sit down and write tonight.  There were 3 different ideas that had been swirling around in my brain and I’ve been sitting at the keyboard tapping away starting draft…after draft…after draft.  My fingers couldn’t make any of them sound nearly as eloquent as they did in my brain and I was beginning to feel frustrated.  And then something happened.  That something was this guy.

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Meet Red Ryder (yes, he’s named after the BB gun)…he’s known as plain old Ryder to those in his inner circle.  He is an almost 2 year old Red Cavachon and he makes our Crabb Crew complete.  His primary role in this family is to protect our home from being invaded by geckos and from the evil tropical birds that love to taunt us from outside of our sliding glass door.  He hangs out here, fulfilling his duties, while we go to karate, football, Costco, and the beach.  When we leave he’s sad to see us go.  And when we return home, he greets us with enthusiastic jumping and running and the occasional torn-up, lifeless, remaining rags of an ex-squeaky toy.

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You see, as I was trying to make sense of the jumbled thoughts in my brain tonight, this sweet boy jumped up on the couch next to me and just wanted to snuggle.  He was here alone for most of the day, so he was just wanting a few moments of my time to remind me that he’s always just here.  He’s patient.  He’s faithful.  A one-of-a-kind companion.  He doesn’t hold grudges.  He doesn’t discriminate–absolutely anyone is welcome to rub his belly anytime they’d like. He rarely demands his own way (except when we are walking and another dog is anywhere in plain view.  Or a kid with a ball.  Or anyone who looks like they might want to play.  In those instances he makes it clear that he will yank my arm off if need be so he can see for himself if the potential for more fun lies with any of them.)  And he’s happy when I’m happy.  He doesn’t care about my failures or shortcomings.  He doesn’t care if I deserve his affection or not.  I don’t have to do anything to earn his approval or his love. He gives them both freely.  And he’s completely, 100% loyal to me.

Unconditional love and loyalty are hard get from people.  We live in a world where most people are more concerned with their own personal happiness and comfort than they are about serving others.  Our giving is often based on our potential to receive, and is bound by what we feel others deserve.  We easily become consumed by our own personal desires, goals, and having our own needs met and we forget about the kind of sacrificial, unconditional love we are called to show to others.  We get wrapped up in the failures of others and withhold our love and affection until we feel they’ve sufficiently earned it.  And we get disappointed by their actions and sever our ties of loyalty the very minute they say or “stand for” something to that we disagree with.  It’s a sad state of human affairs…and I doubt very highly that this is what Jesus had in mind when He went to the Cross to take our place.

Tonight I’m thankful my dog and my Savior love me better than I often love others.  I’m grateful that they don’t hold me to the same irrational, unattainable standard that I set for others and even for myself sometimes.  And I pray that I can learn a lesson from both of them tonight.

We ca learn a lot about how to treat others from Ryder.  And even more about how to love others from Jesus.

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