LOVE : Anything but Easy (Pt. 2)
This second installment of Charissa Ee’s reflection on love features the remaining 3 Lessons on Loving God
LESSON 5 : Loving God means being willing to be kind and compassionate
I’m quite certain that most of us think we know about kindness and compassion. But, until you live with a dog, you’ll never really know kindness and compassion. Dogs demonstrate these qualities on a level that may sometimes seem humanly impossible!
On one occasion, I was getting water filled up from a water point at Tanjong Beach, Sentosa, when Lady-Mae ran into the female toilet. The toilet was about 5 to 6 feet away from me and dogs are not allowed in.
As I called for her to come out, she refused. Instead, she defied me and chose to stay inside. As I walked into the toilet, all I could think of was that a member of the public was going to complain that my dog was being a nuisance.
I found Lady-Mae sitting outside the door of a cubicle, whining. If you’ve ever met my dog, you’ll know that she hardly makes any vocal sounds. So, I decided to open the door and found a cleaner on the floor. She had fallen and fractured her wrist. She was in such great pain that she had no strength to call out for help and could only speak in whispers. My dog, heard her whispering and acted on her will to alert me that someone was in need.
I called the Sentosa lifeguard for help and they, in turn, called for an ambulance.
It was only after Lady-Mae had seen the cleaner being helped into the ambulance and leaving the premises that she stood up and looked at me with eyes that said, “it’s now time to go”. I need to qualify that I have never trained my dog for such a task. She did it by pure intuition alone.
This incident reminded me of the good Samaritan who not only saved the Jew who was robbed, but also made sure that he was well looked after. Not only did I learn a new definition of kindness that day but I also understood the difference between kindness and compassion.
Kindness is our willingness to render an act of service without any external prompting. Compassion is the act of service that we render to make sure that there is a follow through.
LESSON 6 : Loving God means having the moral courage to speak up even when you’re being laughed at
On another occasion in Sentosa, Lady-Mae ran up to a lifeguard and started barking at him. She was trying to get his attention because she had spotted a man floating on his back, out in the sea. In actual fact, it was an elderly gentleman doing the backstroke. Lady thought that he had drowned and needed help.
I found it funny seeing my non-swimming dog get frustrated trying to enter the water to get to the man. As I was getting Lady-Mae away from the lifeguard to show her that she had been mistaken, the elderly gentleman came to shore and told me to never laugh at my dog for doing that, but to reward her more instead.
No one on the beach that day even bothered about my barking dog. Not even the lifeguard. He just stood there and ignored her. That image was engraved into my heart. Being a disciple of Christ means that we must be willing to be like Lady-Mae; we need to speak up for what is not right.
No one taught my dog to do what she did. She did it because it was in her instinct to do so. Likewise, if we are to be like Christ, then our instinct should be to have courage for our faith.
LESSON 7 : Loving God means having reverential worship daily
Recently, Lady-Mae hurt her dominant paw when I took her to the Green Corridor for a romp. When I got home from church later that day, she greeted me at the door, hobbling on 3 legs.
The ritual of a greeting in dog training is called, “The Reunion”. To greet a dog properly, you do not speak, have eye contact or pet a dog unless the dog is calm.
Rituals are important in a dog’s world. Unlike dogs, our rituals are based on intellect and emotion. For dogs, rituals are instinctive and natural. They do it because of who they are. Dogs can never fake their rituals; whenever dogs get into a ritual, they speak truth.
So, when Lady-Mae persisted in greeting me and refused to go back into her bed until we were done, it really left an impression on me. We may see this moment as insignificant but Lady-Mae modeled to me what total abandonment looks like. She laid aside her pain and greeted me at the door despite the deep gash in her paw.
As I was kneeling on the floor petting my dog who was gently wagging her tail, I began to reflect on how my daily reunion with God should be.
Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are those who are pure in heart, for they shall see God.” [NIV] This verse is the thread that ties these 7 lessons on loving God together. Critical lessons that I know will take a lifetime to perfect.
Charissa is a trainer for both humans and dogs, and loves to put her observations and musings down in writing on her blog, The Orange Chalk. Very often, you’ll read about her rescue mutt, Lady-Mae, whom God uses to refine Charissa to serve like a servant and lead like a royal.