I think I might be insane.
Sara is due to have our second baby on July 5th, my 30 page DMin paper is due August 1st, I still have to finish 6 books before writing the paper, I’ll be the only pastor at our church for a little while starting June 14th, and 9 days ago
we bought a puppy.
Penny is about eight weeks old and she’s a purebred Australian Shepherd. She’s adorable, quite the snuggler when she wants to be, and the cats even tolerate her… mostly.
As I’ve been waking up at 3am to take her outside to “go potty,” cleaning accidents on our carpet, fencing in the final portion of our back yard, and trying to leash train Penny, I’ve been seeing the world through a fresh perspective. The life of a puppy is rather extraordinary and I believe Penny has some lessons she can teach us.
1. Life is worth celebrating. Most of our family life is sedentary. Our two Siamese cats love sleeping on top of us whenever possible. Much of our free time when Lylah is sleeping consists of Sara and me sitting on a couch, reading, writing, working, or watching something. This is the perfect lifestyle for cat owners. Hurley and Miley will happily immobilize us for as long as we’ll let them.
Penny doesn’t allow this. Penny almost always has energy and shows enthusiasm for just about anything. Waking up in the morning is a monumental occasion with Penny as she runs around, searching for the next big adventure awaiting her. She starts every day with eager anticipation. If only I had that same attitude each morning.
2. Everything has value. Penny is interested in everything. Even a stick or a tree branch is capable of delivering limitless entertainment. An exposed toe, a crumb on the floor, even cat barf – everything is valued, worth being discovered. If it can fit in Penny’s mouth, she’ll give it a chance and chew on it.
Penny does not discriminate. What if we gave everybody and every situation this kind of open curiosity? What if we looked for the potential value in everybody?
3. Forgiveness is a given. Penny might get mad when we lock her in a crate for the evening. She might even feel upset we lock her outside on a cold rainy day while we are work (she has an insulated dog house). She probably feels jealous when she sees the cats roaming freely, snuggling on our bed, while she’s kept on the floor.
But she’s always ready and waiting to give our relationship more attention when we come back. She’s waiting at the back door when we come home from work. She’s ready to snuggle and lick me when I take her out of her crate in the morning. She doesn’t hold a grudge.
Imagine if we valued our relationships so much that forgiveness was a given.
In truth, not every habit of a puppy is admirable. I’m not suggesting we forgo clothing and start drinking from bowls. However, there is a lot we can learn from the unadulterated enthusiasm for life that puppies exhibit.
How would your life look if you followed Penny’s example and embraced some of these attitudes?