Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Beast Rides Shotgun

Meet my navigator!
(And ignore the lady in the driver's seat with no make up. It's the only non-blurry photo I could find.)
You may recognize the furry guy. He's the one that eats up my hummus and just the other day snatched a $12 box of Splenda packets off the counter and sneaked it out into the rain to see if it was edible.
It turns out that he likes riding in the car almost as much as eating!
He perches his 90 pound self on the picnic table between our two front seats, sticks his nose out farther than ours so that he can feel like he is leading, and then directs the route, moving his bobblehead left to right to left again, until we get to school.

You may think I let him come along because I love the way he distributes his golden hair all over my van, the way he coats our windows with slobber and tries to drool into my coffee.
Nope. That's not it.

I started taking Tanner on our trips to middle school because I hoped it might distract my sixth grader from the joyful anticipation of the loving, supportive atmosphere preteens provide for each other whenever they gather together at school.
(That's sarcasm, in case you're wondering.)
I have time in my schedule right now, so I hoped it would help.
It does. And how!

In fact, Tanner seems to have a curious effect on strangers too.
They see him, stretching his big body over Sam to get his face out the open window, and they laugh from their cars. Mothers arguing with children stop and point and laugh. Truck drivers roll down their windows at the red light and talk to our celebrity. Women and men in suits relax their furrowed brows, smile, and breathe. Kids at the carpool line laugh and say "Look!"
And Tanner LOVES every second of it. He slings his big fat tongue out of his mouth and smiles at them all.

His joy is contagious. I'm so glad that animals do this for us.
Seeing their joy in everything, their fascination with smells and sensations, somehow distracts us from all our commotion. They take us out of our heads, and for a moment we drop the worries of the day and just feel lighter. We feel joy.

You know what Teilhard de Chardin said about joy, right?
Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God."

Now, before you think I'm saying that this eating machine of mine is really God in a fur suit, let me clarify: That's sorta almost what I'm saying! We're all instruments of God, creatures of his kingdom, gifted to bring joy to others. Tanner the Slobber Dog and his canine sisters and brothers just have a special knack for it!

Despite his penchant for ruining Splenda boxes and stealing hummus, for chewing up jewelry boxes and destroying Christmas ornaments, I'm truly thankful for the delight he brings into our lives.

The delight reminds me of a passage from the wisdom literature of Proverbs in which wisdom is personified as a beautiful woman. After she tells us that she was there from the beginning of creation, she reminds us how wise it is to take time to enjoy God's company...

"Day after day I [Wisdom] was there, with my joyful applause, always enjoying his [God's] company, Delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family."
Proverbs 8: 30-31 The Message

I need to make sure that I continue to make room in my busyness for delight, for celebrating the world of things and creatures and the human family.
What delights you in this world of God's making? What do you do in an effort to make room for Joy?

Have a wonder-full day, y'all!
Love, Becky


Roxane B. Salonen said...

What a cute post, Rebecca. And I think you look great without makeup. Your dimples are so awesome -- I've always been envious of those. It's like a perpetual grin on your cheeks! We used to have a big old yellow Lab so I can totally imagine what you experience with him riding shotgun. You are so right about God using whatever He can to be His instrument, even a slobbery canine. :) Why not?

Grace on the Narrow Path said...

So stinking cute!!! I love it!!! God does bless us with such cute wonders.

Kelly H-Y said...

What a perfect example of pure joy and happiness ... loved this post!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, you know how I do agree with this!!
What on earth do people do without dogs??
Pure joy on four legs!!
Fabulous post!

Laura said...

Love, love, love that quote, Becky.

A dog always makes me smile.

And the wonder? Oh, I need the wonder every day. May I never forget it!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Dogs and babies--that's their gift, right?

Terri Tiffany said...

I want your dog! You are so right about making time for joy and delight in our days:)

Kat said...

Dogs are so good at that! They are so amazing. Studies have even proven the positive health affects dogs have on people. We could see it in action when my mom would bring her dog to the nursing home to visit my dad. Amazing.
That dog of yours is quite the looker! Handsome little stinker. Had me cracking up with the Splenda story. ;)
I can't wait to add a dog to our family. :)

Faith Hope Cherrytea ~ said...

loving this Becky! so FUN ..
'What delights you in this world of God's making? What do you do in an effort to make room for Joy?'
beauty delites me ~ right now the glory of autumn ..
intentionality in living at rest is my effort to make room for Joy ~

Silicon Valley Diva said...

There is NOTHING more heartwarming to me than witnessing the effect my happy-go-lucky Beagle has on others, especially children and the elderly. Dogs bring such an unconditional love to all.

As soon as we get Ella into the car she starts slobbering all over the place too!

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

Oh heavens! Middle school was the WORST for me. I'm glad Sam has Tanner the joyous!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Yep, Locusts/Alison, I think middle school is rough on everybody. I remember one day in 7th grade when the teacher called me to the board and I was SO self conscious that I temporarily forgot how to walk! I had to order my feet to move each step! Kids are harsh to each other, but thankfully, it doesn't last forever. And there are good moments to stumble upon here and there. Tanner does seem to help. I kind of look at taking him as a little thing I can do for the kids in carpool line-and their families. At least he helps us, that's for sure!

Hugs and kisses for your comments, folks.
And FHCT, I LOVE "intentionality in living at rest is my effort to make room for Joy." That's wonderful! It does take intention, I think. Living at rest sure doesn't happen by accident in this world!

Jude said...

Love the name of your blog! And look at that doggy face--that's the picture of joy right there :)

As for your question, what excites me in God's world right now? I guess the opportunity to learn and explore so many new things. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by it all, but right now I'm content/in awe of it all.