My favorite pet was a Cocker Spaniel named Pluto. Pluto always had his nose up in the air or down to the ground. He was always sniffing around for something. He never walked or ran in a straight line. I would call him and he would start across the yard and suddenly he would turn this way and then that way. That dog ran in a zig-zag pattern all the time. I don’t think he ever went anywhere in a straight line.
He had an ADD sniffer. He could get so excited about some of the most insignificant things. He would find joy in the most insignificant things. However, his greatest joy was when he found me. He always came to me! Generally after a he had ran all over the yard. Exhausted he would come, yapping for my touch. Moaning with delight as I stroked his back (or tummy, he wasn’t picky). I still miss that silly dog. He taught me a lot about living in the moment, finding joy in everything, and patience.
He and I formed a bond. A bond that really went beyond what I thought was possible with a pet. I had a number of pets growing up, but not like Pluto. We shared life with each other. We enjoyed each other.
In spite of the manying warnings (from my wife) I fed him continually from my own dinner plate, (he was very fat). I would protect Pluto from what I viewed as unkind behavior. I really could not tolerate people talking bad to him or about him. I did not like it if you hurt his feelings (and he had plenty of them). He was my friend.
A friend that could take the most interesting paths into my arms. And yet no matter what his journey, no matter how long it took, I was always filled with joy when he arrived. I loved to hold him and reward him with his favorite food.
Know one else could do with Pluto what I could. Even though I really never did get him to do tricks or train him (I wanted him to catch a frizbee, but NO). I formed him with love. He knew who he was, he was my dog. He knew I loved him unconditionally (and he me). Even though other things would divert his attention from time to time, ultimately he knew my love was the best thing ever. He was formed in and by that love. When he went to heaven (oh yes there is), I was a mess. I still miss him.
For a few years I was resistive to another pet, in fact I had to be tricked by my children to “love again” (that’s a whole other story). However, now I call Lilly and she looks up and starts towards me — then she darts off after the squirrel or something! I smile and wait, because I know she’ll soon remember me and come back my direction.
She’s on a journey (not the one she thinks) back into my arms. She’s being formed! She’s being formed by love. It’s a good, (no a great) journey into the mystery of love. Love that doesn’t teach you tricks, or train you, but forms you, gives you your identity!
I smile, I hear His voice, and I start towards Him. What was that, I look (run in that direction), it’s got my interest, it’s … – but wait – I remember, that voice! I turn my head towards that voice — there, here, in this Presence, I’m being formed. I’m discovering who I am … as I’m discovering who He is… the I AM!
Life is really about all “formation.” Whatever, whomever we continually return too is forming our lives. Pluto taught me that. Or maybe Someone used Pluto to teach me that. Life is really a journey that transforms.
The tricks we learn or the final destination, though valuable and important, may not be as important as who we become. And who we become just might depend on who we love, or rather whom we are loved by.
Yeah, I just wrote about a dog! I’ll try to return to more “heady” stuff next week.