She stays with me. No matter where I am there she is. Quiet, unobtrusive most of the time, but there. I have had some medical stuff going on, pain and discomfort hounding me as I waited for the answer. She stayed with me when I was hurting. Laying at my feet or my side, she didn’t ask for any more than my acknowledgement that she was near.
My Lizzy is a faithful girl.
She cares about me. I know there are those who claim that dogs run only on instinct, acting in ways that are preprogrammed and will provide them with what they need. I say hogwash. What does a dog who is comforting a person need? And what kind of programming tells a dog to lay their head on your lap when you are crying? No, that’s love. Lizzy’s best friend, Shua, has been my companion for over 7 years. By the time he was 12 weeks old he had taken on the job of my comforter. To this day, when I am upset or anxious, he lumbers his 110 lb body over to me and buries his big head in my shoulder. He remains absolutely quiet, but close, sometimes so close that he climbs on top of me. Tenderness is their way when things aren’t right.
My mouth has been a mess. An abscessed tooth raged and refused to let go of its anger for 6 weeks. I got the antibiotics but the wonders of COVID have so messed up the medical community that my dentist could not see me until yesterday…and it has not been fun. Repeated bouts of pain I compare with childbirth hit me and I had to bear it out until the dentist could get me in to fix my infuriated tooth.
Lizzy knew, every time, that it was acting up. Night or day, she came near and simply stayed there. Laying on my feet or at my side, she quietly pressed her warm body against me in her, “I’m here for you” way. When my ridiculously high pain tolerance lost to the intense throbbing, she simply walked with me as I paced until pain medication kicked in.
She gets it. She knows that hurting people simply need a presence. They do not need instruction. They do not need distraction. They do not need trite comments. They do not need to be told to get over it. They do not need shaming. They need to be walked with, to feel the nearness of a caring heart. They need to know that they are not alone.
She laid by my side as I sipped coffee today. Snuggled next to me, she gently put a paw on my leg before lifting her wet nose beside it, then drifted off to sleep as I petted her head. She knows I love her. I want her around, whether she is comforting or cavorting. I enjoy her. I see her as fabulous and I like the way she is. But when she comforts me, I am especially taken with how special she is
You see, comforting is an act that is one hundred percent giving. To comfort is to walk into someone’s pain and sit in it with them. It does not bring dividends. It only provides for another. It says, "I will be with you even though it gets me nothing. I love you."
I wonder, with all the mess our world is in, if some of us should do a little more mimicking of my Lizzy. God has called us to comfort one another, and to remember when we are comforted so that we will know how to comfort others. Maybe, if we would be willing to just give kindness and compassion to another, we could solve some of the worst of our problems.
I have seen lives forever changed with an act of compassion. Lizzy changes mine every time she joins me in my difficulties and simply loves me. It is time we let Lizzy be our teacher again.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts…Col 3:12
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