Look at this face:
This is a face that says, "I love you. More than walks! More than rides in the car. More than rawhide bones! More than sniffing every disgusting, stinky spot of grass in the park, and you know how much I love that. More than belly rubs. I love you so much that if you, in that A.D.D. way you have, jump up from your desk five times in ten minutes to go tend to suddenly-remembered things, I, too, will jump up, and I will follow you! No matter how much I looked like I was enjoying a snooze. I will wait for your command; I will take any job you give me; I will threaten to kill the UPS man for you! Because I love you. No matter what you do."
I wish I could love like that.
Sometimes when the dog who owns that beautiful face irritates me, I find myself thinking, "Well, I like the dog most of the time, but I don't really love her when she throws up," or, "I don't really love her when she insists on going outside three times in half an hour. And I don't love her when she smells like that ...."
I wish I could look at everyone, and every important thing in my life, and God, with the same devotion that Sydney displays in that picture up there. Instead, I often find myself reacting to the world much more in the manner of a cat. Oh, yes, to be sure, there's kitty-happy-hour in my life -- you know, that frantic racing around the house just for the sheer and utter joy of it? But then there's also that gazing with contempt at things that get in my way. That attitude of indecision that is so cat-like: "Shall I accept you into my personal bubble? Or should I bite you on the face?" Then there's the whole love of sleep thing.
And though my cat has been known to curl up next to me, purring, in the middle of the night when I'm having trouble sleeping, it's always really more for his sake than for mine. When he's done with me, he's done. He's outta there. It's always on his terms.
In this season of waiting, this Advent, this time of reflection and resolutions, I'm thinking about being more like a dog -- accepting everything that comes my way with a goofily happy resignation. Frantic, anticipatory joy. Stupid gratitude.
I know I won't get there this Advent. I probably won't make it in this lifetime. But it's worth shooting for the attitude of utter love I see in that picture, don't you think?
I will not, however, threaten any bodily harm to a UPS man. Ever. Love the UPS man. So back off the man in brown, Sydney.