Friday, July 20, 2012


I gave Amos a bath today.  A bath, nail trim, de-tangling session, and ear de-hairing.  He was very, very, very happy when I was finished.  He prefers that those things do not happen on the same day.  However, I had been a bit remiss in my care of him.  The fatigue of late has been more troublesome than normal.  Sometimes, the thought of doing anything is more than I can take.

So, I had an evening of holding a swaddled, sweet-smelling, soft, fluffified puppy dog.  Yes, the ex-literacy professor is twisting a word into a no-word.  Fluffified: the past tense of fluffify, which means to make fluffy.  I know that there is nothing in the world softer than a baby's skin, but I am thinking that Amos freshly bathed would make a very strong showing in a softness competition.

Oh, my, when I am working on him, Amos is simply the most pitiful creature on the planet.  In fact, tonight I took breaks because Amos was trembling so very violently.  I could feel the rapid thud of his heart against my leg, my stomach, my arm, my body.  He needed the care I was giving him, but I was worried at how upset he was.  The rest of the evening, Amos lay in my arms, a lump of exhausted puppy dog.

I have been thinking that it is amazing to me that after all that puppy horror, Amos still finds his surest refuge in his puppy momma's arms.  He still follows me wherever I go, preferring most to be at my side...even if I am merely washing dishes.  When his guilt over an indiscretion fills him, Amos will sit or stand a bit off, but he longs to be with me even then, returning as soon as he feels it is safe.  

My friend Celia, during her brief visit, mentioned my loving Amos.  Love is a word that I have found most particularly difficult of late.  It bothers me, deeply, how people toss it about...even Christians.  I have had people say it to me, but I do not believe them.  Primarily, because to me love is not words, but actions.  Love is not something that you say, but what you do.  I struggle with using the word love with Amos because he is a puppy, not a person. be honest...I do tell Amos that I love him.

And I feel stupid and foolish and silly for doing so.

I think about the pit bull attack, about the words I heard then.  The men trying to help me kept urging me to let go of Amos, to give the pit bull what he wanted.  But I couldn't.  Not just because that would be cruel.  I could not because Amos already meant too much to me.  Already I couldn't imagine life without him.

And that was a year ago.  Not yet had I experienced the devotion that is Amos.  Not yet had I experienced the vulnerability that is Amos.  

There is a fellowship in suffering.  It struck me tonight how there is one creature on the planet who understands my physical and mental and emotional battles from the pit bull attack, even though we do not share them.  His are different from mine.  And yet we suffered together.

Thinking of that made me wonder if perhaps something of that is behind James saying that we should consider it all joy when we encounter various trials. Not that we should want trial.  Not that we should desire suffering.  But in suffering lies a fellowship with Jesus that is not found outside of the cross.  There is joy with Jesus...always.

Well, in my mind, all muddled together, are thoughts of Amos and suffering and fellowship...and of love.  I have been thinking that perhaps the reason that Amos longs to be with me even when he is afraid of how I will respond to an improper location of his deposits because he knows that I love him.  And he trusts me because of love. So, because he trusts me, even though I do things that frighten him, his place of safety is in my arms.

He's just a puppy.  Not a person.  Can puppies know love or trust?  Can I?

When I am caught in a maelstrom of emotions, I will oft flee to a place where I can hide to help me feel safe. Again, with so much of my life of late, I need the external to help me do what I cannot, by my own strength and will do. The external I crave the most is the Psalter, is to have someone fill my ears with it.  Of course, any Living Word is a blessing, but the words of the Psalter are the words of my heart, they are the words of fellowship and love and trust.

Holding Amos tightly calms him.  His physical being changes in my arms. His mental and emotional being changes.  He is calmed, soothed.  He finds peace.  Does that mean that because the Psalter does the same for me, that is it as if God is holding me in His arms?

How in the world does one meander from fluffified to peace?  So muddled is my mind.  Only, well, Amos gets fluffified from being bathed, being washed clean in water.  


Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!

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