When I was 15 my parents finally relented and let me get a dog, each of my siblings had moved out already and being the last one I guess they were finally sick of saying “no” when it came to dogs. And, so every day for about a week I made the walk from our house down to the local pound where the staff would let me wander around the halls to look at all the poor sad faces who had wound up in dog prison. I was determined to find the perfect dog, which was turning into a near impossible task. Finally, just as I was about to give up, one oddly cute boxer tilted her head at me as I passed by her cell and in doing so she leapt straight into my heart. After bringing my mother back and filling out the paperwork I took her home and settled on the name Maggie. Despite my being overjoyed, it took only a few hours for me to realize that my dream of a companion was hardly coming true with this new addition.
That dog, that cute, cuddly looking animal, was a terror. She was just big enough to knock me back off my feet and yet had no training whatsoever, an open door was to her an invitation to bolt out into the neighborhood, leaving me to spend the rest of the afternoon searching our not-so-friendly San Francisco neighborhood for her. When I did finally catch up with her she thought I was playing a game of tag and would do everything in her power to keep me for catching her. Every inch of our home had been claimed as her own personal toilet, and to make matters worse she sunk her teeth into everything I owned.
Maggie was quickly turning into the dog from hell.
Somehow though I endured, I took her to doggie training classes and despite her being denied graduation, learned a few tricks myself that I kept working on and eventually after several months she started to transform into one of the best dogs I have ever known. She went everywhere with me and when I went into a store that did not allow dogs inside she would wait patiently by the front door for my return. Maggie, after we finally broke through and became friends, was a good dog, and she had this way of showing her affection that I will never forget; whenever she stood by me she would lean the back of her body against me, no matter if I was sitting standing, or laying in bed, she wanted me to be supporting part of her weight. Yeah, it got annoying sometimes, and I had to push her away, but this was her way of showing love, of letting those around us know that I was her person and she was my dog. She did it so much that we started to call her Eileen. (Get it…. I – Lean) I know, cheesy, but if you knew Maggie you would know what I am talking about, she was always leaning her body against me. Always.
I remembered Maggie (Eileen) today while thinking about how I need God so badly, how I want to lean into Him and let all around me know that I am His. I feel so lost, so lonely and alone without Him, every time I forget that I need to spend my days leaning into Him, letting him support part of the weight that I bear in this world.
There are times, many-many times when I think that I was built to stand on my own two legs, I try to spread my feet apart, lock my knees and brace myself for what might come, yet the bus keeps rocking and despite my efforts I simply can’t stand on my own.
We were simply not made to stand alone.
Today is the start of a new year, and if I learn nothing else this year, I want to learn to lean on Him.