Thursday, January 19, 2006

How to care

Once upon a time, a doggie with long, reddish hair and raggedy ears lived in our yard. Someone said she was a Sheltie mix. Wart was a timid soul who showed up in our front yard about ten years before, an adolescent pup frantic with terror. In her puppy-hood, someone had obviously treated her with cruelty, because she always cringed every time we made a sudden move or loud noise or came out the door with a broom. But she never ran from us and always submitted to anything—bathing, brushing, flea-powdering—with terrified trust.

Our oldest granddaughter, Allison, then about three, worried about Wart and tried to be her kindest companion.

One summer evening, Allison, her mother, and I set out on a walk down the hill. Wart came with us, as she always did, with a self-effacing doggie smile. Allison stopped in her tracks, put her hands on her hips, and said, “Let me show you how to care.” Wart sat down in the road and began to shiver at the unexpected attention.

Allison walked slowly and deliberately to Wart, both her hands extended. By that time, Wart was trembling with terror, but didn't move. Allison gently cupped her hands around Wart’s muzzle and said softly, “This is how to care.” She stood that way, looking directly into Wart’s frightened eyes—and about on a level with those eyes--for what seemed a long time, but was actually about thirty seconds, I imagine.

God taught that little child “how to care.” Little children don’t question those all-important lessons from God. Why do we older, wiser ones resist him with such stubbornness and self-sufficiency?

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