It’s the weekend and I’m dog-sitting for a friend. PD is a 3-year-old miniature dachshund with more energy than is good for any animal. It’s been her mission this weekend to "bury" around the house my elderly dog’s no-longer-used chew toys. Dachshunds are scent hounds with bodies built for burrowing, and even though PD will never see a badger in her lifetime, her behavior is true to her genetics.
But PD has a problem. No matter where she hides that chew toy, she can tell where it is. I’ve watched her stuff it between couch cushions, tuck it behind storage boxes and deposit it under my bed. It may be out of sight, but as she surveys her work she’s never satisfied. Her nose tells her where it is, and she assumes the toy is not safely hidden. So off she goes in search of a better location.
As PD searches for the perfect toy burial site in my office, I decide to help her out. I manage to pry the toy away from her and while distracting her with one hand, I slip the toy under an area rug with the other hand. Then I show PD both my hands – empty! Panic ensues. She does a quick circle scanning the room, then looks back to me. I show her my hands again, open and empty. The serious search now begins. PD checks every location she’d considered and tested, occasionally looking at me. Each time I hold out my empty hands and tell her it’s gone. But she knows it’s got to be somewhere, so she goes back to work. Eventually her scent-hound nose locates the toy under the rug and burrows in to retrieve it. With one last distrustful glance at me, she heads off to another room to re-hide the chew toy.
I’m still chuckling to myself when the light bulb comes on in my head. PD and I are a lot alike. Well, not the boundless energy part. But the hiding part. How much of my precious energy do I expend on hiding my sins?
No matter how or where I hide them, I still know where they are. Occasionally I’ll work up the nerve to run into God’s office with something I’ve been hiding. He’s happy to take it from me and then shows me his empty nail-scarred hands and tells me it’s gone. Panic ensues. I quickly check my hiding places. He assures me it’s gone, but I’m not buying it. I search more carefully for any whiff of my fault. The smell lingers. It’s here, and if I insist, God will let me snatch it back and run to another room to hide it myself.
I like to think I’m smarter than a dog, but in this case it may take a concerted effort to be so. What an opportunity I have to deposit my junk where it’ll be forgiven and forgotten. I gaze now on my own elderly dog, slumbering heavily without a care in the world. She gave up hiding toys long ago and watches PD with a mixture of distain and weariness. I think I’ll take a lesson from her. That of surrender and trust.
The old dog’s in a good place, and I think I am too — if I’ll just rest there.
Sue Berger is a massage therapist and a pastor’s wife. She enjoys nature, naps and writing. Interrupt her at Sue@OnePilgrimsMusings.com