Baxter has very little stress beyond whether his water bowl stays full, his food bowl is consistently replenished, and his trips outside are not withheld. In short–which he is–Baxter is a low maintenance guy, er dog, and this writer’s constant companion during office hours. He has also inspired a few characters in my stories over the years.
Unfortunately, this fellow has one rather annoying habit. He likes to walk a half-step ahead of me while looking back to be sure I am following. Not the best way to make progress of any kind. In fact, life would be much less complicated if Baxter would just let me do the leading while he does the following.
I said this recently. Aloud. Yes, to a Schnauzer.
And as the words left my mouth, I was struck with the thought that maybe I am guilty of the same thing. How many times have I gotten ahead of God only to realize He wasn’t having any of it? How many more times did I think I knew exactly where God was going–or what He was going to do–only to realize I was nowhere near close in my guess? How many books have I tried to write without first asking Him what He wanted me to say?
Just as Baxter sometimes barks when there’s nothing there, I too, let nothing (in the form of fear, worry, angst, or just plain imagination) grab my attention and hold it. For all his foibles, Baxter has another side to him, a loyal and faithful side that I adore. Where I am, Baxter wants to be. My return from a brief trip away sends him into a crazy dance of joy that requires several rooms of the house to adequately perform. My presence is his source of joy and comfort. He doesn’t care if I don’t meet my word count that day. He just wants me there. Near him.
So, the thought struck me: what if I looked at my relationship with God like that? What if I found contentment and joy merely in resting in His presence? What if I followed Him — be it in my writing or in my life — rather than leading? What if…
I discovered something years ago about this journey called the Christian life. The more I learn about the Lord, the more I realize how much I do not know and how very far away from any sort of perfection I am. That knowledge is sobering. Humbling.
With the school year ending and summer almost here, so many of us are stacking up our beach reads, making our vacation plans, and — for those of us who write — adapting our schedules to pack in every moment until Labor Day with meaning and purpose. I think this summer just might be the year to follow a different course, a simple plan of finding rest and reverence.
And for that, I can thank my Schnauzer. I wish you could all meet Baxter. He’s a real inspiration.
So…who–or what–inspires you? Have you learned something about God or about yourself from your pet?