Her first big dog was a 150 pound Bernese Mountain Dog named Jack (or Jalapeno Jack of Hearts according to the birth certificate). Everyone said he was too big for the breed. My mom swore that’s how they grow them in Switzerland. Apparently Jack was European.
The day puppy Jack came home from the breeder was the same day my sister went to her first Winter Formal. My mom took pictures of Jack with his new toys, pictures of my step dad riding him around the yard in a wheel barrel, and I photographed mom reading Go Dog Go to him. At some point my mom took pictures of my sister and her date . . . the date held Jack. My sister did not love Jack.
As a teenager, I hosted sleepovers in our backyard barn. Jack would lay across the doors of the barn preventing us from sneaking out, and others from sneaking in. We tried one night to lure Jack into the Barn to allow access for some neighbor boys. It didn’t work. Jack chased them down a hill taking one out by the knees and causing the other to wet his pants. I did not love Jack.
Jack’s head was the same height as our kitchen table and he licked the plates of countless dinner guests before they finished. His tail resembled a shop broom and swept countless small children right off their feet. Jack wandered the neighborhood inviting himself into others homes, helping himself to other’s duck ponds, and leading other dog’s astray. The neighbors did not love Jack.
A few years ago, my mom adopted her second big dog. Not just big even, but bigger. Tekoa is a 175 pound mix of Newfoundland and Great Pyrenees; just short of a small pony in size, with the coloring of a cow and the hair of a llama. My mom hoped at least her grandchildren would love him.
Much to her delight, my son asked if he could bring his grandma’s dog to school for show-and-tell. I am sure that when she heard the term “grandma’s dog;” his teacher probably imagined a purse sized pooch, one of those dogs whose name (when pronounced incorrectly) sounds like a bad word, or something with jowls. The shock must have been terrible when she saw a beast on a horse lead walking towards the Kindergarten building.
As my mom proudly made her way to the door, she was stopped. My son intercepted her and explained that Tekoa could not come in. Instead, the Kindergarteners filtered out a few at a time. The teacher told them that when they finished standing in the cold petting the dog, they could return to their warm classroom for snack time. None stayed long. They did not love Tekoa . . . at least not more than snack.
Mom asked later if other dogs were allowed in. “Oh ya!,” my son told her. “But only small dogs and puppies.” Tekoa’s size prevented his entrance. My mom called it discrimination.
My mom loves big dogs. She wants everyone to love her big dogs. She especially wants her children and grandchildren to love her big dogs.
We all have things we love. We all look to the important people in our lives, hoping that they will share our passions. We somehow equate that “if they love us, then they will love this.”
God feels the same way. He desires for us to share his passions, to love the things that He loves. Our affection for him should translate to all the affections in our lives.
The crazy thing is, God is most passionate about people. He loves people, and in that affection cares about all the little things in their lives. As awesome as it is to see God work great miracles, I am always amazed when I see God answer small prayers, when I see Him care about all the things I love.
When Jack got old, he started to wander from home. He, like many animals, tried to run away to die. My mom wanted nothing more than to be with him when he passed away. Twice my husband and I found Jack wandering in the rain and the dark. We picked him up and drove him home, because we love my mom. A few days before Christmas in 2003, my mom sat on the back deck with Jack rubbing his ears and telling him it was “okay”. She sat with him until he died. She still thanks God for caring enough to let her have that moment. God loves my mom.
We may not always share others passions. But if we are passionate about God, then we will always care.