So we made a plan. And it worked. I found a private breeder who lived three hours from our home. My husband and I drove there to purchase the dog. The family gathered at my parent's house waiting for our arrival. It was love at first sight. The name "Sam" was decided upon, but my mother simply called him "Baby." Every time he arrived for a visit she'd say "BAaaabeeee." Now that my parents are gone, Sam is just another thing about their lives here on earth that reminds me of them.
Everything about Sam's inclusion in our family started with love. Love for my mother. Sam doesn't realize this, however. He doesn't know enough to know that if my husband wasn't willing to drive three hours because he loved my mother, and if my son and daughter-in-law weren't willing to take on the responsibility of another dog because they loved my mother, he would not be part of our family. Sam doesn't know anything about dollar bills and that it took over three hundred of them to win him in to our family. It cost time, and money to include Sam in our family. And the cost was worth it because of love. We loved my mother.
Sam, is adorable as you can see from the picture. But Sam barks a lot. A lot. He barks at anything he sees. He also doesn't know that he is a toy poodle. His behavior indicates that he thinks he is a mountain lion. The other day, for example, I opened the back door at the exact moment a cat was walking through our yard. The cat was easily twice Sam's size. Sam ran out - barking wildly - and chased the cat in to the woods. He would not listen to me as I screamed, "SAM.. SAM!! INSIDE!" He did not return for at least ten minutes. I heard screams and barking. I didn't know if I'd have to tell my grandchildren that the next door cat had eaten Sam. Eventually, Sam walked out of the woods unscathed. And if dogs could have a smug look on their faces, Sam did, as if saying, "Yup, I took care of that cat!"
Three days ago, while my grandchildren and their parents were on a trip out of town Sam stayed with us. I love holding him and snuggling him. He doesn't bark at me. I call him "BABY" every now and then to remind him that my mother loved him. But for some reason, that day, he kept barking at my husband, Phil. Seriously barking. (My friend, Hollis will comment on this blog because when she showed up at our house one day while we were watching Sam, he ran at her at the front door.. and..was barking at her viciously... "He's a mean dog!", she said. She was correct. He was acting wildly.)
The other day, as I watched Sam barking at Phil, I said to him, "Sam if it wasn't for Phil's willingness to have you here, you'd be sitting in a cage somewhere... Locked in a cage, unable to run, unable to be free." I mean, his absolute freedom to run around our house instead.. was because people have compassion on Sam. Phil doesn't like dogs... but he likes me... and if I want Sam here.. then he brings him here.... It's love for ME that has Sam at our home... But Sam is too much of a dog to realize the kind of compassion it took to bring him here.
As Sam was barking at kind-hearted Phil, I saw myself in Sam for a brief moment. Barking at God because I want what I want when I want it. Immature in my ignorance of the price it took for God to adopt me in to His family. Smug in the incredible life of peace and joy that I did not - and cannot - earn.
I often forget the compassion and love that is the cornerstone of my being adopted by GOD HIMSELF. It is because "GOD SO LOVED" the world that we have a "get out of hell free" option. Sometimes, I forget that I am but dust... Dust that has been given ETERNAL LIFE.. Dust.. that is going to be able to share in the glory of Jesus.... Dust.. living free and happy and at rest. The reason I am free, the reason I walk in freedom is because of HIS LOVE.. not because I deserve it. God does not owe me an answer to prayer... it is LOVE that chooses to even listen to a prayer from a dust-creature. It is LOVE that chooses to hear and answer prayer.. Compassion.
Who gets annoyed at the Hand that feeds her?
Sometimes, I remind myself of Sam, the Barking Granddog. Thankfully, though, I also always remind my heavenly Father of His Son, Jesus. It cost Him everything so that a nothing like me would be adopted in to His Father's family.
Thank you, Jesus.