Here’s one of our beloved dogs, Seamus. We think he’s adorable, in that funny-cute kind of way – with his brindled head and paws, black back, white starred chest, and graying muzzle. If we scanned his genes to determine breed type, we’d probably find every kind of dog registered with the AKC. Truly – he’s one of a kind. A “mix-up,” as our 5-year old son calls him.
And here’s a video of his signature move – the hoot. He’s calling us to let him in from the back porch.
He will keep this up for as long as it takes. I repeat: AS LONG AS IT TAKES – until we open the door for him. His persistence can be annoying. But I admire it.
And when he comes in, his tail is wagging as if no time has elapsed at all. He’s grateful to be reunited with us, back from his romp around the back yard, returned to his safe and loving home.
We got Seamus from a rescue group who had saved him from a shelter in South Carolina where he’d been brought in – a stray guy, just skin and bones, but with a big, big heart. On that day three years ago when he crawled into my lap at his foster parents’ house, I knew without a doubt his ‘forever’ home was going to be with me.
But learning to accept our place as ‘home’ took time. On his first walk with me, his tail slumped between his legs and his head sunk down. In the house, he sat in corners for the first couple days, and he was frightened by the stairs. When our Beagle Luna arrived a week later (we planned for them to be playmates), he allowed her to be the alpha, and didn’t really challenge her authority, even though she was younger, for almost a year. And when my husband approached Seamus’s food bowl while he was eating, Seamus would back away sheepishly. He ran from loud noises. We wondered if he’d been abused, if someone had yelled a lot, or just neglected him.
Nevertheless, he wanted to be with us. And the more we loved him, the more love he returned to us.
At one point, my relationship with God was similar to the one Seamus had with us. I couldn’t sit through any church service without crying. The emotions I felt inside would just bubble up and spill out in quiet tears, and my stomach would turn in knots. I was timid, fearful, and unsure whether I could truly trust Him. In a sense, I had been a stray. I’d traveled a few roads and didn’t feel at home anywhere.
But the Lord’s love is relentless and tender. Fiercely compassionate and constant. Patient and true. A gentle hand that promised to cradle me forever when I was finally ready to fully relax into the safe home of Him.