One of the great pleasures of my life is watching how Goldie, my two-and-a-half year old Catahoula puppy, prepare to go for a walk. When I say “Walkies!” her ears perk up and her steps get more excited. When I put my sneakers on she starts to stretch like an athlete getting to run a marathon, (I have started to stretch before our walks because of her)! It’s actually when I bring the leash out that she really starts to get excited. My wife and I feel so much better about life just watching how excited she gets at the prospect of going for walk. I wish I had half that much enthusiasm for just the most mundane of tasks.
Then we watched Hurricane Harvey ravage our old stomping ground around Houston, as well as all the other hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico. We certainly have “weathered” (pun intended) a lot lately. The human as well as material toll was astronomical. The devastation was very real and gut wrenching.
I heard person after person express their thankfulness to God for having delivered them from these catastrophes and it made me think. We only truly appreciate the gift of the life we have when that life is threatened. It was kind of wonderful having family and friends checking on us during Harvey to see if we were okay, even though all we got was much needed rain, oh, and a downed tree or two. What also happens during times like these is we tend to look beyond ourselves to a power greater than our own for our survival, which is as it should be as far as I can tell.
So I’ll continue to look to Goldie for instruction on handling life’s little enthusiasms, and to God for help in keeping the rest of life as together as my wife and I can keep it. Take paying bills, for instance. I hate to do it, but know it must be done. And, truth be told, I do feel oddly euphoric when the deed is done, and I actually have money enough in the bank to pay for them. I still wait to the last minute to accomplish this task, but it does get done.
But what about those whose lives have been uprooted by the recent devastation? What happens when enthusiasm and trust are in short supply? This is oddly enough where we claim our common humanity and together we can say, “I thank God I’m alive,” and leave it at that. I wish this were not a controversial statement, but I fear it might be. All I know is that Goldie doesn’t care, so neither will I.
Mark W Stoub; Retired Presbyterian minister; author of “Blood Under the Altar,” and the soon to be released, “The Fifth Trumpet: Fire in the Blood.”