June 5, 2015

Be Our Guest / Tom Yost

A lesson in faithfulness

In early June 2014, my wife and I lost our dog Libby after having her in the family for 13 years.

Off and on for the rest of the summer, Sue was on the lookout for another dog. She searched the newspaper, the Internet, and some animal shelters looking for a dog.

And then one September day last year, it happened. While looking for a specific dog from an animal rescue organization at a local pet store, she came by accident upon a litter of puppies. Once she discovered that they were part Border collie, I knew one of them would steal her heart. Of course, it happened to be the most active and mischievous one of all.

The rescue volunteers cautioned my wife about how active a breed this little dog would become, but it did not matter in the least to Sue. While we are both a little older and not as quick on our feet as we used to be, her years of experience with dogs would be up for the challenge. Besides, the little guy was precious in her sight and a keeper to her. We did the paperwork, “rescued” him, and brought him home after a few days. We named him Jett.

We named him Jett in part because of his speed and agility. He has beautiful black and white markings. One eye is black and one eye is white. He is smart and strong-willed. He is playful and plentiful busy. He likes to chew and dig. He can be a darling, but he can also be destructive. He wants attention and needs supervision.

Jett has gotten in trouble more times than I care to elaborate. Here is a partial list of what he has chewed sometimes to the point of destruction—rugs, carpet, furniture (especially wood), pillows, books, shoes, clothes, our grandson’s toys, remote controls, plants, water hoses, our other dog, me and more.

His strong-willed seemingly untrainable nature has caused me to grumble and complain more than Sue has cared to hear. And truth be told, Jett has probably exhausted and tried Sue more than she ever expected, but you would never know it.

I will admit I have been very tempted to give up on Jett. If left up to me, by now somebody else would have needed to “rescue” our rescued dog. However, that is not the case with Sue. She will never give up on Jett. She sees more to him than what I am capable of seeing.

She sees promise and potential. She loves him for who he is more than by what he does. She scolds and disciplines Jett for bad behavior, but she also is patient and persevering with him. Sue rescued him, and there is no turning back or away. She loves her dog.

I don’t think the relationship I have observed between Sue and Jett is that far of a stretch from the relationship between God and myself. Like Jett, I can be strong-willed and sometimes destructive. I have done damage to myself and others. I have sought attention to myself and have loathed discipline.

Like a “stiff-necked” dog, I come from a “stiff-necked” people (just read the Bible). I might listen to commands if I keep getting treats to obey them.

Like Sue is with Jett, God is patient and persevering with me. God sees promise and potential in me. The Son of God has rescued me from sin and death. There is no turning back and there is no turning away. God loves me.

What a lesson in faithfulness!

(Tom Yost is pastoral associate of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany.)

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