Saturday, June 12, 2010


These days my dog "Kai" has a ministry of presence to me. In the morning, when I wake up, Kai is staring at me. He sits on the bed next to me - towering over me- staring down at me - waiting for me to wake up. He never wakes me. he never touches me with a paw or licks my face or paces on the bed. He just sits there staring at me.

As soon as I open my eyes however, all bets are off. The open eyes is his invitation to get the tail moving and to lick my forehead. He then lays down and places his face on my neck while my body wakes up and my mind opens to the reality of a new day. He sits vigil, his puppy-breath sweet and warm, hits my jaw and one paw is on my chest. It looks like he is pinning me down but in fact he is just very, very present - like he has just saved me from dorwning. And sometimes he has. His body says "I am here." His eyes say "I see you and I love you." (or perhaps "I see you, love you and want food." ...not sure)

The presence of a dog is so similar to the presence of God and too much has been written on the subject for me to much weigh in except to say that the presence of my dog and my other hairless bipeded friends inclines me to feel that all is well or will be.

As I have said before in articles and sermons, God has placed Kai in my life as a plant. Kai is one of God's many beings assigned to me to help me to live alone in the woods as I do. My work is my joy and I do it well and love to do it. But when I get home, to an empty house, there can be many long hours of solitude which on some days is soothing and other days a painful echo-chamber for my less optimistic thoughts. But I pray God to deliver me from my darkest thoughts and then, invariably, Kai sneaks up on me with tail wagging and big pink tongue flopping and huge brown eyes staring and massive black paw offering me a hand out of my place and into his. Kai's place is a place of the present moment - a joyful place of a stick and a river and the wonderful possibility that the combination means a swim today during our four-mile walk.

Every day we live with our successes and we live with our failures and I have many of both. I am a very able man and at the same time I make terrible mistakes daily - hourly. But all we can do is to live the best life we can and let a dog or a friend or the Holy Spirit or some combination of the three save us from both our self-satisfaction and our self-flagellation. A dog seems to say "You are taking yourself way too this stick and lighten up!"

That panting face with those big, brown, searching eyes and that flopping tongue melt me. And in melted states we can move again.

No comments:

Post a Comment