Expect love

4 Feb

I write as I learn, and as I hear. Like anybody else, I suppose.

I used to have a dog called Misty. I’ve written about her before. Ah, Misty was a beautiful German Shepherd, with the friendliest grin and mischievous eyes.

She was very loyal to my father, and she bullied me because, of course, I was Little Sister. Her name for me – and this is true! – was ‘Yawooooo’. A sharp yelp-like Ya with a howl, which I have transcribed here ‘wooooo’. Er – best I could do, peeps! But truly, she would stand outside the house and call for me whenever she wanted to go upstairs to play or when she wanted to be let out of her kennel and had been put in, in the first place, by the parents. She knew I’d take her side.

She was lovely, naughty, mean, generous, loyal, amusing and intelligent. All the things a good healthy, growing dog should be – right?

I love dogs. I have had so many in my life so far and they have each been an indispensable part of the family. But I also love them for the lessons I learned from them. God always uses examples. I mean, get a load of all those parables! 😀 But jokes apart, every time the Lord wanted to teach me something as a child and often now, he would point to something around me and teach me in baby steps. Hey, what can I say, I’m slow!

Misty, although pretty familiar with the house and the sofas too, had a leash and a collar that we tied to the gate on her kennel, as an alternative to shutting her up. We rarely ever did need to shut her up. This only occurred when (annoying-in-my-childhood-world) visitors screamed and ran at the sight of a dog. Yes, where I grew up, dogs weren’t common to most households and some people – er – flipped. Then, or when we needed to keep two or three dogs out of each other’s food bowls so we wouldn’t see any fur fly when they got catty.

When we did tie her to her leash, she wasn’t very miffed about it. She took it like a good dog. Still, what has always stayed with me, more than ten years after Misty went, is the way she reacted to being free.

When one of the family undid the clasp on her leash, Misty would still sit in her kennel. Patient in the area of her captivity. She had this quirk of having to sniff the end of the leash, as it hung from a particular spot on the gate. She knew the circumference of her bondage well. And she would sit there, as if she didn’t know she was free. The thing is no one ever tried to loose her surreptitiously like some prank we were playing on her. I distinctly remember afternoons when I, teasing this creature of habit as dogs are wont to be, would say to her ‘Go, Misty, go! I untied you, go!’ And she’d good-humouredly thump her huge, shaggy tail and sit on the edge of her kennel. Waiting. And look at me as if to say ‘Who’re you kidding, missy?’ She had to sniff the end of her rope every now and then to remind herself that freedom had come. She had to keep going back to the thing that kept her in captivity so she could tell herself she was free.

Like me. Sometimes. I keep having to remind myself that I am free. I forget that God has forgiven me, forgotten my sin. I rehash. Oh, I rehash. Over and over again, as if I have not taken his deliverance seriously. As if I am denying the sacrifice on the cross that gave me life. The sacrifice was sufficient. It has swallowed my sin, my shame. It is gone, it is finished! But I forget so often. I act more righteous than God, I wait to see proof of my deliverance, my redemption, I doubt myself and expect me to fall.

My dog now is called Tassi. Well, one of my dogs now! She is a little Dachshund – see a German pattern emerging here? Yeah, I don’t know what that is about. Our other dogs have been a Dobermann, an Alsatian-Great Dane mix (er, also German and, in fact, sometimes called German Mastiff), several other Dachshunds, and a Pomeranian-Cocker Spaniel mix (phew, we got one half of a different nationality in!) Definitely something there to investigate! The German dog inclinations of the Writeroo family. Although… I have always wanted a Bassett Hound…

But, I digress.

Tassi is short for Pocahontas, which means ‘playful girl’. She is a playful princess, indeed! She was, in many ways, a Writeroo dog. I carried her home, and she slept in my shirt sleeves and lost herself in my laundry and cried under my bed every night, as a puppy. She’ll eat the bread I give her without butter. She’s a spoilt miss though and won’t take unbuttered bread from anyone else. She is very loving, loves pampering, purrs like a cat, keeps imagining she’s preggers and plonks herself on your feet inconveniently. She’ll go to sleep the moment you pick her up in your arms. She sometimes snores.

puppy dog cute cute dog dachshund black dachshund

The thing that broke my heart – in a very good way – about the Tass when she was getting puppy-trained was this…

One afternoon, she bit me pretty hard. We were rolling about on the floor having a romp. She bit my fingers – not too painfully – and ran away, playfully daring me to get her. While I was encouraging her gnawing at the bone I held, and gripping my hand… she knew, by this time, that a hard nip through the skin was not in order. Having suffered this a couple of times, and needing to show the dog what she could and couldn’t do, I gave her a tiny rap with two fingers on her back. It must have hurt. It wasn’t more than what I would do to swat a mosquito away, but I was stern and she knew from my tone that I was not pleased.

Tassi squirmed from the gentle rebuke and came running back to burrow her head with its too-long ears in my waiting lap.

loyalty trust trust trust

Coming up for the cuddle she knows she's gonna get!

She made me cry. I picked her up and held her close and thought about what God wants from us. How do your children react when they are disciplined by you? Do they trust you to come back to you with the problem? That’s exactly what God’s father-heart longs for. For a repentant child to come back expecting grace. Expecting justice, but knowing the love that is constant already.

trust trust faith God is good lessons

Expect forgiveness. Expect redemption. Expect grace. Expect the God you know. Expect love – don’t you know it by now? He is your father.

Know his love. He knows you, he singled you out and loves you crazily. Trust him today. Remember your love for him. Remember your trust.

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2 Responses to “Expect love”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Crazy love (sorry, Mr Chan) | eccedominus - February 12, 2011

    […] awkwardly snuggles into me. I feel that lump when someone in my family is appreciated, or even when the Tass knows I’m […]

  2. This morning | eccedominus - February 15, 2011

    […] know the Tass by now as she’s featured in this blog a couple of […]

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