Nikki, is the Lhasa Apso that is technically my wife’s, but I also get to borrow the dog when she’s not around, or when she needs help caring for the almost 12-13 year old dog. (Shelley says she is actually 11, but we really do not know for sure).
But this story is about the day I smacked the little fur-ball square in the face with a door.
I was coming home from work. On a typical day, I stand at the bottom of the stairs and call for our little Lhasa Apso, Nikki, so she can be walked. She is usually standing on guard in the window sill, quietly waiting for us, or sleeping on one of her several giant pillows.
Walking at this hour is not only healthy for me, but necessary for the dog. We usually don’t leave her longer than 4-6 hours at a time, since she’s a little older and any longer than that, well, it’s just not good.
On this particular day, I pushed the door open pretty hard. The dog is always upstairs. Always.
Except this particular time, when the full force of the door hit her square in the face. She shook her head and came to me, I apologized. I looked into her eyes. She was a little shaken, but she still walked up to me as if to tell me, “You can smack me with the door, but I’m still going to love you.”
Naturally, I felt horrible, and the whole walk was spent checking her eyes, to make sure she was good to go. She kept shaking her head, and eventually, she walked normally and did everything that she normally does. Except when the walk was done, she usually collapses at my feet (after eating a treat), this time, though, she jumped up on my lap after we were done with our walk.
If somebody smacked me in the face, I probably wouldn’t jump on their lap and offer them kisses, just a guess. It got me thinking, is my dog a better christian than I am?
Sometimes life hits us in the nose and we get upset. I’ve certainly had my share of “shaking my fist at thee” moments.
What I learned from my Lhasa Apso that day was, circumstances do not have to dictate love. Sometimes it is difficult, but it is that difficulty that G-d calls us to shake our heads and move on, and love, love, love. No matter what.
I’m not sure how I can apply that totally to my life. I mean, there are some sonsuvbitches out there. Can we love through the hate? Is it possible? Do we have the strength? Is it possible to view a suicide bomber with as much empathy and love as his victims? Can I love as unconditionally as my dog (who approaches every creature with care and interest – except birds, which she chases with utter joy).
These are tough questions during difficult times, but true forgiveness is the easiest concept to talk about, but likely the most difficult to practice. A practice that I admit, I sometimes fail.
Making my dog, by far, the better Christian.