Lessons from the Fuzzy-Mutt: Content to Stay, Excited to Go

Note:  I wrote this in January of 2012, when I first began contemplating starting a blog.  I’ve since moved on to a different company and I no longer get to bring Strider to work with me.  But my contemplations seem to still hold true, and Strider certainly hasn’t changed!

Strider came to work with me today.  This is a rare treat, reserved for incredibly slow days, holidays, and maintenance in the apartment days, like today.

I love having Strider at work.  He spends most of the day under my desk (usually just chilling under there, but sometimes sleeping), or wandering quietly about the office searching for unattended bits of food.  He follows me If I step away from my desk, whether it is the few steps to the printer or across the way to the bathroom, where he waits outside the door.  Then he settles back under the desk while I work.  He’s a happy face, even on our worst days.

Then the day ends.  He always knows when it is that time.  “Mom opened that drawer – time to go? I think so, she pulled out that thing she carries, but is it really?  YES!  There’s my LEASH! Let’s go, Let’s Go, LET’S GO!!”  His tail goes into what I call “helicopter mode.”  He prances around, and tries to sit like a good boy but his backside wiggles too much.  “YAY! WE’RE GOING!”  He bounds to the door, realizes he’s gotten way ahead of me and bounds back, then back to the door again.

A coworker witnessed and commented on this today, and I replied “He’s so easy going.  He’s content to be wherever he is, but gets so excited to go to the next place, wherever it may be.”  As I walked out, watched Strider run around a bit, and then loaded him in the Jeep to go home, I started pondering this.  If animals take after their owners, does that mean I’m “content to stay and excited to go?”  My impulse is to answer “not really,” but it bears consideration.

Once I am settled somewhere, I am usually content to stay there.  Whether it be a job or an apartment, I’ll stay even if it isn’t the best (happiest/healthiest) place for me.  But is that being content or complacent?  I’d hate to think it was the latter, though it certainly could be.  Perhaps it is some combination of both?

And how about the “excited to go” part?  Change is hard for me, I admit.  I put down roots, and being uprooted is uncomfortable (to put it mildly).  And yet, thinking of the changes I’ve gone through, it seems once things are decided and I know what’s next, I do get excited about the new.

So maybe I’m “content to stay but usually (or eventually?) excited to go.”

Next I began to wonder, why is Strider content to stay, but excited to go?  Because he isn’t just content to hang out at work and excited to go home.  He’s also content to hang out at home and excited to go on a walk.  Content to be on a walk, but excited to go back in.  Content to be at my sister’s house, but excited to get in the Jeep to go home.  Content to be in the Jeep, but excited to get out.  The only times he  isn’t either content or excited are when he’s sleeping (though I suppose that could be counted under “content”) or when either the staying or the going happens without me: when I go to work and he stays home, when he goes into the grooming salon to get his nails done and I stay in the main store, or when he stays at my sister’s house while I go elsewhere.  Strider is content to stay with me and excited to go with me, but he is sad, and sometimes anxious, when we’re apart.  I think the same is true of me.  I am content when I am staying with God in His will, and excited when I go with Him where He leads.  When I am discontented, sad, or anxious, it is usually because I am apart from Him.

I wish I could be as loyal and faithful as Strider.  I’m pretty sure that my fuzzy-mutt believes with all his doggie-heart that as long as he’s with me everything will be okay.  So, given the choice, he’ll always choose to be with me.  While I know everything will be okay as long as I dwell in God’s will, so often my selfish human nature gets in the way of choosing to follow Him in unquestioning trust.

Strider is all sprawled out on the floor, exhausted by his day of sleeping under my desk, content to doze while I write.  In a minute, when I get up and go to my computer, he’ll jump up, wag his tail, and follow me to the other room, where he’ll contentedly sprawl some more while I check my Facebook and email.  Then he’ll excitedly follow me out for a contented walk, and then excitedly pull me back to the door so he can curl up contentedly next to me when we go to bed.  A simple, sweet life.  We humans complicate things too much.

A closing prayer:  Lord, help me be content to stay where you stay and excited to go where you go, trusting that as long as I’m with You, everything will be okay.

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