NO LONGER UGLY

NO LONGER UGLY

Once upon a time there was a boy who had a dog. The boy and the dog loved each other and played happily as dear friends. But one day the dog did something the boy’s parents didn’t like. To appease his parents, the boy had to send the dog away. Years passed, and the boy forgot there had ever been a dog . But inside him there was still a place where something was missing. When he was a man, the missing place called him so strongly that he had to go in search of what he needed. His search brought him to the edge of a forest.

Not knowing why, he found himself sitting, waiting. Slowly, gradually, two burning eyes appeared in the darkness of the forest. The young man waited. Slowly, gradually, a long pointed nose emerged. The young man waited. Finally, out of the forest, slinking, there came an animal: thin, scarred, muddy, matted with burrs. You would hardly know it had ever been a dog.

The young man greeted it softly: Hello. The ugly dog stopped, untrusting. The young man felt in his body the memory stirring of the good and happy times with his friend. He said to the animal before him: I want to know how it has been for you, all these years in exile. And in his own way the dog told him, this, and this. Sad, lonely, scared, bitter. The young man told the dog that he had heard it. He heard all that he had gone through.

And with this hearing, the dog visibly softened, became warmer and more trusting. After some time, it came close enough to be touched. When the young man touched the dog, he could feel the missing place inside him begin to fill in. And soon after he took the dog home, and gave it a bath and a warm place by the fire – after it felt loved again – it was no longer ugly. It was beautiful.

Source: Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin
The Radical Acceptance of Everything
Calluna Press, 2005

CONSIDER THIS

“I have long been persuaded that desire is not an emptiness needing to be filled but a fullness needing to be in relation.  Desire is love trying to happen.”  – Sebastian Moore, Jesus and the Liberator of Desire (Crossroad, 1989)

 

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BARKING DOGS

Bob: Don’t be afraid of my dog. You know the old proverb, “A barking dog never bites”.

Richard: “I know the proverb, you know the proverb, but does your dog know the proverb?”

Source | Lachman Mehta, Stolen Treasures
(Xlibris Corporation, 2012) page 248

_______________________________________
Here’s a slightly different version

Ned goes over to see his neighbour who has a very ferocious-looking dog. As Ned approaches the door the dog begins to bark wildly and his neighbour says to him, “Come on in, Ned! Don’t be afraid of my dog. You know the old proverb: A barking dog never bites.” “Yes,” replied Ned, “I know the proverb, and you know the proverb, but does your dog know it?” Before we have an agreement on when a dog can bite and when it cannot, we must first make sure the dog is party to the agreement.

CONSIDER THIS

In the same vein, any attempt by humans to legislate on where and through whom God and God’s Holy Spirit can act or cannot act is nothing but a futile attempt to shrink God. For God cannot be limited. The Holy Spirit of God breathes where she wills and is not the monopoly of any faith tradition.

 

FINDING THE FIRE HYDRANT

One fine day, a young nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home, when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the 
fire truck was a dalmatian dog. Without any prompting the children began to discuss the dog’s
 duties.

“They use him to keep crowds back,” said one youngster.

“No,” said another, “the dog is  there just for good luck.”

A third child brought the argument to a close. “They use the dogs,” she said 
firmly, “To find the fire hydrant.”

Source: based on a story found in  Lulu De Zulu, Blow Your Blues Away
(Xlibris, Corp., 2009)

CONSIDER THIS

That raises a good question: Of what use are all the animals to us?  There are different answers  to that question. Some animals provide love and companionship, others provide protection, still others provide a display of of total and utter beauty.

But animals also communicate to us.  We often try to teach and train our pets. What if we turn things around and listen carefully to what animals have to teach us?

Ask the beasts and they will teach you;
the birds of the air and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among these does not know
that the hand of God has done this?
In God’s hand is the life of every living thing,
and the breath of every human being.

Job 12:7-10

THE FARMER, THE HOUND AND THE BANKER

A distressed farmer was about to lose his farm, so he went to the bank to get a loan, and his old hound dog came along too.  Now the banker was a hard, unsmiling man who have never heard the word compassion.  So it came as no surprise that, despite the farmer’s pleading, and despite his perfect financial record, the banker said ‘No, absolutely no!’ to the loan.

No sooner had those words been spoken than the farmer’s old hound jumped up and bit that banker hard, on the leg.  And then he bit one of the customers as well.  The banker was astonished. “I can understand,” he said, “why your dog might bite me after I turned down your loan. But why did he bite that innocent bystander over there?”

“Aw that’s easy,” said the farmer. “He just needed to get the nasty taste out of his mouth.”

Source | Dennis R. Clark, Sunday Morning, Reflections on the Word

CONSIDER THIS

Imagine yourself in the position of the distressed farmer … Imagine yourself in the place of the insensitive banker … What do you feel? How would you have responded? Daily we encounter other people. Why not try on a daily basis, to give  to the other the gift of transforming graciousness!

YOU MUST SEE THE RABBIT

A young aspirant to holiness asked his teacher, “Why is it that some who seek God come to the desert and are zealous in prayer but leave after a year or so, while others, like you, remain faithful to the quest for a lifetime?”

The old man smiled and answered, “One day I was sitting here quietly in the sun with my dog. Suddenly a large white rabbit ran across in front of us. Well, my dog jumped up, and barked loudly, took off after the rabbit with a passion. Soon other dogs joined him, attracted by his barking. The pack of dogs ran barking across the creeks, up stony embankments and through the thickets and thorns. Gradually, however, one by one, the other dogs dropped out of the pursuit, discouraged by the course and frustrated by the chase. Only my dog continued to hotly pursue the white rabbit.”

The young man sat in confused silence, and finally said, “I don’t understand.”

The old man replied, “Unless you see the prey, the chase is just too difficult . . . you must see the rabbit!”

If I am not to lose heart
and abandon my spiritual quest,
you must teach me how to be an everyday mystic
who finds you in life’s holy humdrum.

 Source | Edward Hays,  A Book of Wonders
(Ave Maria Press, 2009) pages 251-251

GET OFF THE NAIL

There was a young man walking down the street and happened to see a old man sitting on his porch. Next to the old man was his dog, who was whining and whimpering. The young man asked the old man “What’s wrong with your dog” The old man said “He’s laying on a nail”. The young man asked “Laying on a nail?, Well why doesn’t he get up?” The old man then replied “It’s not hurting bad enough.”

Source | Les Brown, Live Your Dreams
(William Morrow Paperbacks, July 1994) page 194

PONDER AND CONSIDER

There are two reasons people make changes in their lives: inspiration or desperation. In the final analysis what really matters is not what happened to you but what you are prepared to do about it. Are you going to  moan, groan, and complain, shrinking into fear or are you going to wake up, get up, and tap into the seeds of greatness and possibility within you?

  • “To have something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do something you have never done.” | anon
  • “If you don’t make things happen then things will happen to you.” | Robert Collier
  • “Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain.” | Henry Ford
  • “If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” | Anthony J. D’Angelo

 

LOST DOG LUCKY

A young couple, great dog lovers, lost their adorable dog, which they rescued from the streets.
They wanted the dog back badly and they went round the neighbourhood posting a sign with a photo of the dog. The sign read:

  • Black and tan dog of Poodle and German Shepherd descent.
  • Flea-bitten
  • Missing left hind-leg
  • No hair on rump
  • Blind in left eye
  • Broken tail
  • Recently neutered
  • Too old for tricks
  • Might bite if cornered
  • Answers to the name of “Lucky”

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Now that’s unconditional love! It is a love that is not afraid to embrace defects, imperfections and brokenness. And the dog, well, I suppose it is indeed “lucky.”

And what about you and me? To know that we are embraced by a God who is tenderness and whose mercy is fresh every morning, a God who is always bigger than our biggest failure, wound, defect or sin, birthing us and loving us into being afresh on the pulse of each new dawn!