“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage”
It’s hard to believe it’s only been ten months that we’ve had our new puppy, Calypso. She has blended into our family so seamlessly, it seems like she’s been here forever.
Although we know she hasn’t. Rest in peace, sweet Holly.
One of the things that has been great about having a new puppy at this stage in our lives, is that our kids are in high school this time, and old enough to understand discipline and training, and participate in it. Having a puppy along with little ones is fun, but in a lot of ways, it’s just one more kid: Loud, messy, energetic, and not altogether housebroken.
This time, however, the kids are part of the people, in the eyes of the dog, as opposed to part of her pack. No one is trying to herd them, and their voices are powerful and deep enough to be authoritative. But even more than that, they understand what we’re trying to accomplish in training her, and how we go about doing that.
Our little Callie knows several commands, which is to say she knows what we want from her in several situations. She knows when we want her to head to her crate (at mealtimes) and when she’s got something in her mouth that’s not hers, and we want it back (like socks, or the cat’s toys).
But one of the first things we taught her was to sit and wait. It came about when we were housebreaking her. She learned quickly that she’d receive a treat if she asked to go outside to do her business, so when she was done, she’d hurry back into the house to the cupboard where we keep the treats. And then she’d do her now-trademark four-foot-vertical-leap of excitement. Repeatedly. And I wasn’t having any of it. So I told her “no” and I told her “sit”. And worse than that (in her mind), I froze. I stopped moving in the middle of getting her treat, and she quickly realized that only if she politely sat next to me, would she get the reward she was waiting for.
As I thought the other day about all she has learned in the past several months with us, I kind of chuckled that the very first thing we taught her was how to wait. And then I found myself wishing that God taught us the same way.
Now, to clarify, I do think that God teaches us about waiting, starting very early in our lives. But I think the lesson that most of us see is the fact that we are going to have to do a lot of waiting. I’m talking about the lesson of what to do while we’re waiting.
What I want from Calypso is patience. Obvious, observable patience. Quietness, stillness… a puppy at peace. And I do get that. I don’t look down to see a trembling, excited, ready-to-explode furry girl, I see a relaxed, trusting girl who knows that she will get that cookie. It’s happened every time, after all. So she’s not worried.
The fact is, we are going to wait. Maybe your life will be characterized by one long wait for something that won’t seem to come: a spouse, the dream job, a prodigal child… Or maybe you find yourself repeatedly waiting, then briefly content, then waiting for something else. The more important question is, what are you doing while you wait?
Are you working while you wait? Are you serving, laboring, building, producing?
Are you loving while you wait? Are you edifying, giving, encouraging, listening?
Are you at peace while you wait? Are you trusting, believing, expecting, praising?
Are you learning while you wait? Are you reading, memorizing, studying, meditating?
I know you’re waiting. But what are you doing?