So many of you seem to enjoy this spiritual journal whenever I use Abby, our Anglican Border Collie, as an example of what to do or not to do. This week, I want to share a conversation we had. (Yes, I speak “Border Collie.” It is easier than 1st century Aramaic. No, I am not a Collie “whisperer.” Border Collies only shout; they do not whisper!)
So, Abby was complaining about the recent upheaval in her life. Her mommy got so sick and had to go to the people vet and almost didn’t come home. And when she did, she was given too much pain stuff and that stuff hurt her, and Abby was sad and scared. Then the move to the new rectory. All these strangers coming into her yard, packing her stuff, using her boxes and her tape, moving them from her house to the new house and breathing her air. (We’re slightly obsessive: you think!) Now her people-pack are in this new field and house with all these new strange smells to learn with new deer and bunnies and birds to have to chase and organize just when she was getting the rest of the old herd in line. Now her mommy is better but not completely, so Abby still must sleep on the bed and make sure mommy is safe.
I tried to explain to her that Jesus (her redeemer as much as mine) taught us to put our faith in Him and not in the stuff of this life. Some of that “stuff” are not just physical possessions. His “kingdom” (actually the term is “kingship” – it’s a 1st century Aramaic word!) is “not of this world.” We’re only here as travelers, and only for a short time. We pass our days guided by our loving Father who sent His Son to restore us, to divinize us, to redeem us. Nothing much here is permanent: not our jobs, our aspirations, our inspirations, our affiliations. We don’t even get to keep our same bodies: they grow and develop and then decline. (Just try jumping up the adjacent wall with Abby every time she now needs to go out and “take care of business.”)
Someday this beloved creature of God will die, as will I, as will we all. We leave this place with its hurt and pain, its uncertainties and cares, its loves and hopes and dreams. Hopefully, we have lived such lives that we return to the loving One who breathed life into us when the journey began, who sent the second “person” within God’s triune existence to live for us, die for us and rise to overcome death for us. Our true “home” is not here. Nothing “here” is changeless.
So, like it or not, nothing is permanent. Change is not always good or easy, but change always happens. In this fragile existence we call “life,” sickness, uncertainty, stress, confusion, anger, unfairness and the whole gamut of human states of being will and must occur. So, hopefully, must love, peace, patience, courage and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit. But it happens in such a short time. So stop barking Abby! This time of change will pass … until the next changes occur. And God will guide us through them as well.