Several months ago, in this column I wrote about our new dog, Aubie. Despite my reservations about having yet another mouth to feed, this little dachshund captured me. And somehow, he continues to teach me lessons.
Right now, Aubie is imparting to me the discipline of patience, while also sharing the value of anticipation. In our lives, we need both. Somehow, a four-legged canine is walking me through the acquisition of these two seemingly unrelated character traits.
Aubie has a habit of meeting someone new at the door by wagging his tail in excitement . . . and making a puddle on the floor. Thank the Good Lord for hardwood.
This, friends, tries my patience. Whenever a guest shows up—which is often every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, we can expect Aubie to run to the door and apply his greeting to the foyer. Our trained response is to snag a paper towel when the doorbell rings. “He likes you,” we say politely as our guest steps over Lake Aubie.
While Dachshunds are not necessarily guard dogs, we do have hope that should a burglar break into our domicile, “Aubie the Ferocious” will step forth and save the day. In my dream scenario, Aubie, in predictable fashion, loses control of his bladder, creates his liquid obstacle and causes the perp to lose his balance. The thief breaks a hip, giving me the opportunity to tie him up before the police arrive.
Yes, Aubie teaches me patience. Whether it is family, friends, or a stranger at the door, if more than 92 seconds have passed since his last potty break, Aubie will break forth—leaving me shaking my head. Again.
Of course, we need patience. We need patience with each other and we need patience with those we see who are facing so many challenging issues.
But I would argue we need anticipation, too. While Aubie tries my patience, his response to a new visitor is always one of excitement and anticipation.
The person at the door could be selling a coupon book, a new pest control service or just bringing a package, yet Aubie is thrilled. One can only imagine his thoughts: Is this my next tummy rub? Are we going to run through the house? Does this person have a chew toy for me?
His anticipation is selfish, certainly. But this dog is too naïve to see anything but good in anyone he encounters. Every new acquaintance offers an endless list of possibilities.
We should be the same. It is easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities, forgetting that every single client or patient who came to us is an opportunity to present the love of Jesus Christ and to advance the culture of life.
With every encounter, we should be brimming with anticipation over what God can do.
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Of course, our response to a client coming in our door should be more controlled than Aubie’s, but still, every person we see is a new, God-given moment to bring light into a hurting world.
Yes, we need patience.
Coupled with this however, should be anticipation; an expectation that God is rolling up His sleeves, giving us a wink and a smile and saying, “Watch this.”