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Ella is a one-year-old dog today. In the early morning hours, she often gets out of her own bed and jumps up onto mine, wanting a little morning tummy rub and an ear scratching. Not in any rush to go outside, she will often just lay beside me for a little while, with her head on my chest, as if to hear my heartbeat. It is the sweetest thing! Oh my gosh.
When traveling in the car, sometimes, she snuggles her nose next to my hand. When laying on the couch, sometimes, she’ll want just her foot to be touching my leg. When walking down the street, she’ll catch my eye sometimes, look up at me, as if to say, “This is really fantastic!”
Making a connection, literally staying in touch, and spending time with someone, without an agenda.…it’s a pretty good image of a loving relationship.
It’s like Ella is modeling in a beautiful way what it’s like to stay in touch with her master. I never had to train her to do that — she does it because she’s a wonderfully affectionate dog. And it’s just natural for her.
What would it be like if I had a natural inclination to stay in touch with my Master?
For me, there are numerous ways for me to stay in touch … obviously through prayer … and taking a cue from Ella, I wonder how often am I willing to actually spend time in God’s presence without an agenda? Am I willing to pay attention to the Voice of Love, without being in a rush or feeling like I have to check this task off a to-do list?
I wonder how often am I in tune to the heart of God? Seeing the world from Love’s perspective? Understanding things with the wisdom of God, with a renewed mind that’s steeped in our tradition and scripture, and with a heart that’s rooted and grounded in hope?
And how often am I willing to stay in physical touch? Whether experiencing the taste and feel of the Eucharist or touching another person with kindness or compassion … whether seeing them as the body of Christ … or knowing I am also the hands and feet of Christ in this world.
How often am I willing to make a connection during a wonderful, everyday, common experience? Stopping to recognize that moment as a gift, and then say to God with gratefulness, “Wow! This is really fantastic! Thank you!”
How often am I willing to stay in touch?
If dogs understand more of our words than we previously thought possible, I wonder if we (in turn) can understand more of their actions? Especially when those actions show me what’s it’s like to stay in touch … with someone you love.