Grace, the Wonderdog


Dear Friends,


                I am writing this letter on thatrecent, miserable Sunday of snow, slush, and rain.  The noise of the plow woke me up at 5:30 this morning, and myfirst word to greet the day was “Yuck.” Grace, on the other hand, greeted the day with a bound.  A new day! New hope for fun and exciting things! She keeps telling me she would like to go out for a walk, and I keepexplaining that the day is miserable and no beast with any sense at all wantsto go out for a walk in this mess.  Shedoesn’t get it and continues to wag her tail hopefully.


                Grace wakes up in the morning,every morning, full of gratitude and hope. It’s a new day, and because it’s a new day, new things arepossible...even if they haven’t been possible on any day of her life thusfar.  The food I put before her is thesame old boring food she’s always had, but you would think Julia Child had justprepared it for her.  She is eager to gooutside and see what new adventure might await, even though there hardly everis a new adventure; and she is eager to come back inside and curl up under mydesk where all is safe and warm.


                There are two possibleexplanations for this behavior.  Thefirst is that Grace is, simply, a dolt. The other is that Grace is, simply, being faithful to her Creator.  As much as I may have many examples tosupport the former hypothesis, the latter keeps growing on me.  What good do I do myself by gazing on a dayGod has given me and calling it “Yuck?” Is that fair?  Is it evenaccurate?


                We make a lot of noise, asChristians, about counting our blessings and offering God continual praise andthanksgiving; and yet I rarely encounter anyone who actually lives thatway.  Worse, when I do find someone wholives that way, I often find it annoying! Perhaps, however, my annoyance is just a cover for envy.  Wouldn’t my life feel so much better if Ialways saw the blessing rather than the problem?  Maybe I wouldn’t be so tense, if I had a conscious awareness ofthe constant gifts and care I was receiving from God.  Maybe I wouldn’t be so quick to criticize if I were focused on mygratitude for God’s gifts.  Surely, if Iwere taking the time to enumerate the things for which I was thankful, therewould be no time left in a day to dwell on the thorns in my side.


                So, this Thanksgiving, I givethanks for my dog.  Grace is teaching methat each morning is, in fact, a brand new day–a new gift from God that mightindeed contain the fulfillment of all my hopes and dreams.  She is showing me that every mouthful offood, every opportunity to be out in God’s creation, every chance to curl upfor a moment under the desk is pure gift and something for which to bethankful.  She is teaching me that maybeI am not as smart as I think!


                Once a year, we are reminded bya national holiday to give thanks. Dwell on the good, not the bad. Appreciate what you have.  Lovethe one you’re with.  Stop waking up,looking out the window and saying, “Yuck.” This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.




Grace: In Memoriam.