I learn a lot from my dog. He has a very short list of priorities and needs.
Right now, he’s taking a nap for probably the 12th time today. Shy is a retired race dog. He is a 75 pound greyhound who loves food, sleep, walks, and anything that squeaks. He loves meeting new dogs and new people.
He does a lot of things right and very few things wrong. But he will steal your pizza. I’m not kidding. Guard your savory slice. He will get it when your back is turned. He won’t even be sorry.
Here he is looking unapologetic:
The other day, he met a dog who was up for adoption. This dog was all about people, but no so much about Shy. She started to growl at his inquisitive nose sniffing into the pen and what did he do? He started wagging his tail harder and more intently sniffing. As if being nicer to this dog was going to solve everything.
I wish I could do that! GOD tells us to behave that way all the time; to pray for our enemies and to respond to negativity with love. In these moments, I envy him. But then I remember that I have thumbs and my potty-schedule can be an independent thing and that jealousy evaporates.
Shy has this issue with stairs. Lots of ex-racers struggle with stairs so he isn’t alone. But unless he can see to the top he refuses to go up. He will brave a slatted staircase for the good of the cause, but a spiral? Forget it.
I can’t help but think of my in-law’s dog, Lily. She is a four pound Yorkie. She takes each step slowly and methodically. All four paws convene on the next stair step and then she dutifully hops up one after another until she is at the next floor.
Lily’s faith is in each step. The staircase could magically end and she would be ready to roam around the next level of the building. Shy’s faith is in his line of sight. He knows that there is an end to the terror of the demon-steps so he leaps up the staircase skipping as many lava-covered-death-spots as possible.
“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7
GOD asks us to take things day by day, step by step. If we focus our energy on being faithful to the small things that GOD has challenged us with each day we find that we end up further than we thought. The “long-run” doesn’t end up being any shorter, but it does end up feeling like it took less time to get there.
When I focus on getting up, taking care of myself, going to therapy, making healthy choices, and taking my medicine, all of those small acts of faith make this journey of healing more bearable.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to go to the hospital or start a family. I can’t see the end of my healing. I can’t see the top of the staircase. I want to be like Shy because every step really does feel like a lava-covered-death-spot. But agonizingly, I need to be more like Lily, taking each step in full-faith and not worrying about the next one until it gets there.
Everyday I lack the faith to expect a next step. Somewhere inside of me is a voice that believes GOD will cut out the some of the stairs and I’ll be stranded forever looking towards the top of a staircase that will never end.
But that isn’t true. GOD doesn’t leave us or forsake us. He isn’t like people.
I don’t know where you are on your staircase. I don’t know if the steps seem easy or difficult. But wherever you are, it is too often forgot that we need to just focus on what is directly ahead and not think of what’s behind or postulate on what could be waiting for us.
Take your example from Lily. Just keep hopping up those steps until GOD tells you to stop. Even if it really, really, really, sucks.