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!