No Filter Friday {Stinks and Stones and A Public Service Announcement}

My husband has a saying related to the mishaps associated with the game of baseball, “…and that’s why we keep watching.” If everything went according to plan, {yawn}, boring. It’s the unexpected error and the antics of desperation that make the game interesting. So too in life.

Here is how the story begins.

Wednesdays are my mornings. It is the one morning of the week that I always wake up with just an extra special sense of excitement. The ladies will come and sit in my living room and we will talk about the Word and life like it’s a dot-to-dot picture creation, each little contribution connecting to make something beautiful.

But I confess, there is always a little bit of anxiety present too. This has everything to do with the scary and always unpredictable combination of gardeners and dogs {remember, I have 4 dogs!}…which also is a Wednesday ritual. But this last Wednesday, it looked like we would avert the usual gardener-doggy drama. No rain, so no muddy paws. The gardeners arrived early and left before any of the Wednesday ladies got here which means the dogs can go outside and take care of business without us having to listen to them whine and bark.

Take care of business. These are dangerous words in the canine world. As the women entered, it hit me. The unmistakable stink, the overpowering odor, the vaporous waft of dread–the dogs had rolled in something. Something bad. It was caked on like some exotic mud wrap, only this mud had not aged well.

Instead of letting our hearts get wrapped around the beauty of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in John 13, the ladies all stood by watching me clean crap off hounds with a garden hose. Of course, they all made pleasant small talk about the weather and such. But I saw the look in their eye–the one that said, “We should probably all talk offline about that intervention.

By the end of the day, I needed an intervention. Whatever it was that the dogs had found to frolic in, they found it six more times that day. Bath after bath. Do these dogs not know that I have volumes of Jonathan Edwards to read? Do they not know how hard it is to embrace his ideas of sense and affection when all you can smell is scat? They should tell these stories to people before they get {four} dogs. I have now experienced the kind of frustration that makes grown women crawl up in the fetal position and weep. Or sleep. It was exhausting.

As night fell, one dog couldn’t seem to amp down from the excitement of the day. As the hours passed into the foggy is-this-a-dream-or-is-it-real zone, it became clear she was in some kind of distress. Figures–it was the only fitting end to a day like this. And of course, a natural law of dog ownership is that medical distress can only fall when normal veterinary hours are closed and you are resigned to the hostage-taking of the emergency hospital.

Turns out, rolling in poop is more fun if you do it while eating rocks. And our Gretel decided to eat lots of rocks. Oh, reGretelable. Sticks and stones not only break bones {and make for bad tummy aches}, they will also break the bank. But don’t feel pity for me–the emergency hospital gave me the stones they retrieved. A little souvenir of sorts. Maybe I’ll have them set in some kind of charm bracelet. It will be the most valuable piece of jewelry I own.

{Health Report: I am happy to report that Gretel Basset will live to roll in something odorous again. She’s still passing smaller pieces of rock and experiencing a lot of discomfort. Maybe today she’ll get her I.V. out and  get to planning her next adventure.}

But this eating rocks thing has me super perplexed. Why? Why would any creature want to eat rocks? Waiting with her in the wee hours of the night I had time to think about what I’ve been {trying} to learn in my class about Jonathan Edwards and C.S. Lewis. One theme their writings share is the idea that God, if He is who the Scriptures claim Him to be, then He must be everything. He cannot be on the periphery of life. He must be at the center of our thoughts and devotions. He can be no small thing in the midst of many others. For these brothers who went before us, to ascribe only a small regard to a God of such incredible reputation makes no sense at all; He must be our everything.

Could it be that so much of our discomfort in life is because we have feasted on rocks? If we look at how we spend our time, our money, or even our conversational economy, one might discover that we are indeed very little devoted to God; we have made Him much too small in our thinking. I know of the fear that if we don’t pursue one thing, we will miss out on something else. But the paradox is that in trying to have it all, we are missing what we really long for. Edwards and Lewis in discussing the freedom of the will promote the idea that our strongest desire at the moment will motivate our choices; consecutive choices shape the kind of people we will be. If one is devoted to God, we will become one whose virtues reflect the glory of a great God. In this, there is happiness {or joy, as Lewis calls it}, satisfaction, and comfort for the heart. Or we are free to eat rocks.

Speaking of devotion and our seeming inability to focus on anything, please stop texting and driving! Now that I’m back to driving the L.A. corridor twice a week to school, I have resumed my roll as the local texting police. People, you are on the freeway! Little swerves in and out of lanes are a big deal at high speeds. Going 35 mph to read your phone is not okay. You really need to know that right this instant? It’s dumb as rocks. Stop it. {I threw in the Public Service Announcement for free.}

May your weekend be devoted to a beautifully big God!

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