As is our custom, we let Sam our dachshund out this morning to explore and do his business. The weather here has been delightfully mild, despite the fact that’s it’s the dead of winter, so I wasn’t surprised that Sam didn’t come back right away. Now, we have our back yard fenced–at least partly. We’ve installed a black chain-link fence surrounding our patio and flowerbeds, giving Sam enough room to explore, romp, and stretch his legs a bit without allowing him or other animals to exit or enter. You might call it a dog run of sorts, but Sam thinks of it as his patrol area.
As I said, the weather is quite lovely these days, so I wasn’t terribly surprised that he didn’t come back right away. Derek and I poured coffee and chatted a bit about politics and the companies he would be calling on today, and time ticked by. Finally, I realized that we were missing a dachshund at the table, so I opened the deck door and called his name—no reply. Nothing. I stepped out onto the deck and called again. Nothing.
Usually, Sam comes quickly when called. The one exception to this rule is whenever he is otherwise occupied tracking down ‘prey’. We have lots of moles and birds in our yard, and Sam considers it his job to thin the populations now and then.
I leaned over the deck railing and peered all around the flowerbeds below (our deck sits off the upper level of our split-entry home). Sure enough, a small black dog could be seen beneath one of the privet bushes, rustling in amongst the leaves. I could hear the whoosh and crunch and he pawed at the pile, nosing small bunches into a makeshift bower.
“He’s burying something!” I called back to Derek, who still sat at the table working through his morning emails. “A mole?”
“Mole parts,” my handsome husband called back drolly.
I came back inside and sighed. “He probably reasons that no one can finger him for the kill if he distributes the body all over the yard. Sam!” I called again, figuring the dog would magically appear (as he so often does).
I stepped back onto the deck, where I could hear more leaves rustling from a different side of the yard. I leaned over the left railing. Just below, in the south flowerbed, Sam was covering up something beneath leaves and spent flowers. “I hope I don’t see any of those parts later,” I said to Derek, and I called for Sam once again. “Sam, stop that! Come on inside now!”
Like a shot, the dachshund abandoned his prize and dashed for the stairs, bounding up each with practiced ease. He trotted back into the house, his trimmed toenails tapping happily as he headed toward Derek.
“Who’s been good?” I asked, for this is part of our normal ritual. Sam comes when I call, and he gets a small reward, generally half a small dog biscuit. “Here you go!” I said, handing him the treat, which he took deftly into his snout, crunching it into bits before gulping it down.
Sam then lapped up half a bowl of water and sauntered into the living room, where he took up his usual, morning position on our couch. Derek finished up his emails, gathered up the items he’d need for the day and kissed me goodbye. Thus, began what should have been a routine morning for Sam and me: catching up on emails, news reading and posting to Facebook, writing, researching, and snoring (that’s Sam’s contribution as he snugs next to me on the couch).
However, this morning, the routine didn’t play out quite the same.
Sam threw up.
That was over an hour ago, and he’s fine now, snoring away in his dog bed near our fireplace. I’m washing the quilt that we keep on the couch for Sam to lie on, and I’ve cleaned the floor. And I’ve searched both ‘burial’ spots in our yard to make sure no remains still remain. Sam’s tummy just couldn’t take mole tar tar this morning.
So, here’s the lesson I’ve taken from all this. Dogs should be careful what they eat, for it could come back to haunt them later on and ruin an otherwise lovely morning.
And we humans, we Christians in particular, must be careful what we consume. Do we feast on hurtful gossip, vile entertainments, dark thoughts, demonic promises, treacherous titillation, and whatever carrot the enemy dangles before us? Or do we build up our spiritual bodies with the pure water of Life and the delicious flavors of the Bread, which is the Word of God? It might be fun and pleasurable to eat that which does not nourish us—that which deprives our spirits of nutrition and health, but we cannot grow on junk foods. Choose what heals and helps rather than that which wounds and withers.
Sam threw up because his morning meal didn’t ‘agree’ with him. Just remember, if we gorge ourselves on rotten spiritual meals, we, too, may find ourselves with sour ‘stomachs’, and only disgorging the dark and wretched meat through prayer and confession and repentance can make us feel better.
So, fellow believers, do you feel spiritually queasy? Is there a rumbling in your soul that disquiets your thoughts and threatens to rise up and ruin your day? Tell Jesus about it, and then pull up your chair next to His table, where you’ll find sustenance that is sweet, pure, and oh so satisfying!