While I was in the hot, sunny wilds of eastern Washington, the Beve was spending 13 hours a day behind his favorite power tool--a commercial lawn mower. Oh wait, I mean, one of his commercial lawn mowers. He has something like 6 of them. I'm not going out behind the house to check the current number--it's as fluctuating as the democratic delegate count! Anyway, what this means is that our dogs spent an inordinate amount of time alone.
Now this is not a problem for our giant middle-aged yellow lab, whom I've recently begun calling 'Big Jake', though his name is Jackson. Big Jake has been glued to the couch in the back room for approximately 18 months, which is when our other lab Jemima died. Big Jake slithers off the couch to do his business, eat and sometimes lay in the sun on the living room rug--just for a change in scenery--but I've come to the conclusion that he doesn't actually like the feel of grass on his feet. You remember the song by the screechy, ukelele-playing singer, Tiny Tim, "Tip-toe through the tulips?" Well, that's what Big Jake does in grass--especially wet grass (scrunching his shoulders against the pure agony!)--he tiptoes! And won't play ball unless he's forced, and he'll go for a walk, but never a run anymore. Doesn't like to engage with other dogs. At dog parks he stands around while all these little ones (he's 110lbs of pure yellow muscle--oh, maybe not!) come and dance around him. So hanging out alone for a few days is not a huge problem for our huge dog. If the Beve comes in at the end of the day, feeds him, pets and talks to him, Jackson's crescent tail goes up, there's a definite grin on that big mug, and all is well in his world. I kid you not about the grin, by the way. I've never seen a dog grin the way Jackson can at the Beve. (And you should see him when my little brother comes to visit--he not only grins, but jumps over D's 6'2" head!)
But then there's Jamaica. Maica, or Little Make, as I've taken to calling her. Little Make is our year-old Springer Spaniel. She's a people person, our velcro puppy. She doesn't like to be left alone. Not for an hour, definitely not for a day. If I don't take her with me when I leave the house, she climbs on top of the love-seat in the back room and presses her nose to the window, staring mournfully as I drive away. And half the day, she watches out the front window for Beve to come home. She's practically always on the watch, now that I think of it. She loves Big Jake, fortunately. When we do get home, she greets us by twirling madly, then pouncing on him! Yep, just about any big event in life--food, balls, treats, getting let out of her kennel in the morning--results in her pouncing on him. He just stands there while she paws at him with her front feet and practically climbs on his back. I'm always happy I've come home so Maica can be excited to see Jackson! She loves being outside, no matter what the weather, just nosing around, digging and checking out whatever there is to see. She's terrified of the lawn-mower, Jackson barking at birds and squirrels, or any other loud, unexpected noise, so comes tearing through the dog-door and sits on my feet, trembling when she hears such things. Oddly, I find her fear adorable. And she's become a tennis ball fetching fool! I hated throwing for her for the longest time because she'd never drop for me, but then my friend J told me how to use treats to get her to drop, and now she'll play for hours. Literally, I could throw a ball for her until my arms fall off and she's tongue-hanging-to-the-grass-panting and still the silly fool will keep fetching that ball.
But she doesn't like being left alone. So she waits for the master's return. No matter what else she's doing, she's waiting. They both are, in their inimitable ways, Big Jake asleep on the couch, Little Make staring out the window, watching. They know for whom they wait. They know the sound of the Beve's truck. When they hear it, well before I do, Jackson's wide-awake and at the door, barking, and Maica begins to howl and I'm telling you the racket just about wakes the dead. They don't know how long he's been gone. They probably knew it'd been a long time alone over the weekend, but they just watched and waited. And then they told the world he was finally back.
You know where I'm going with this, don't you? "I wait for the Lord," says the Psalmist. "My whole being waits." (130:5) We don't live waiting, it seems to me. We go through our days, sleeping like Jackson, or doing a million other things, like Jamaica, but don't keep our ears cocked for the Master's return. How do we live our lives with one ear cocked? With our noses pressed to the window of heaven, watching for Him? Will we know His truck when He pulls in to meet us? Do we know Him well enough to grin for Him when He walks through our door--as He most certainly does--in hidden ways--every single day? I want to get off the couch of my life and greet Him when He comes. Shoot, I hope I howl, and bark, and claw at the door when He comes into my daily life. Bounce at His head in joy when I see Him. Don't you?