Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not Better, Just Different -- Boys, Girls, Cats, and Dogs

If you've read this blog for awhile, you will know that I am crazy about my pets. I had gotten a dog several years ago. I had her about 6 months, but it turned out that she had pretty severe separation anxiety. It broke my heart, but the situation wasn't good for either o us. When I took her back to the shelter, they suggested a cat. I was hesitant since I believed that cats were aloof. Out of pity on me, they suggested I take a certain cat home for the weekend and provided a litter box and food. Within the first 12 hours, I was sold.

I now have two cats. I think they really see themselves as dogs. They greet me at the door and Mali can even be persistent about having guests pet her. They both sleep with me.

Still longing for a dog I could walk with and such, I got Hadley a few months ago. It's been interesting to see how people respond. It's as if I've somehow joined the "right" club and people will say, "Don't you like having a dog better than cats?"

Truthfully, no. Don't get me wrong. I adore Hadley, though she is a good deal more work then Katy and Mali. I love all three of them. They are different, but neither is better than the other.

I interact with them differently. For example, my cats are quite a bit smaller than Hadley. Their bones feel lighter somehow. When I pet them or cuddle them, my touch is a bit more gentle. Hadley gets a bit more rough housing. She likes to be wrestled with and will play tug of war. Katy and Mali go nuts over the laser pointer. Hadley could care less.

Katy has always been a fetcher. Hadley is still learning to fetch. She'll chase a ball, but will only bring it back about half the time. In this, Katy has her beat. But rather than fetching a ball, Katy fetches hair bands.

As I was thinking through this, I realized it is much the same way with boys and girls. Even as infants, the way people play with a girl can be much different than a boy. There is often more of a gentle touch with a girl. Though they can't show a preference as a baby, even the toys we encourage them to play with are different.

A long time ago, there was a book out called Children's Letters to God. In there was a letter from a girl who wrote,

Dear God,

Do you like boys better than girls? I know you are one.

No, God doesn't like boys better than girls. And I don't like dogs better than cats. They are different. So, there are different ways of loving them. Even with the cats, there are nuances to my relationships with them.

And I suspect that there are nuances to God's relationships with each of us. Does He love any of us more or less? No. But He does know what we each need to feel loved.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

What's Your Other Name?

The other day I was putting some medicine on Katy (one of my cats). She didn't squirm or anything like that, so I was telling her what a good girl she was. Hadley, who is in puppy obedience, came bounding into the room. She'll come sometimes when she is called, but it isn't 100% yet. So, her sudden appearance took me by surprise. Then it dawned on me. I thought, perhaps, she was responding to the phrase "good girl." You see, "Good girl" is often followed by a treat.

I know it may sound silly, but on days where I work both jobs, I take Hadley to doggy daycare. It's $6.25 and wears her out. I can then go to my evening job without too much guilt. I told Rose, one of the people working there that Hadley's second name was "Good girl."

Later that day, she was trying to get all the dogs on leashes and Hadley decided to play keep away. She called her several times without luck. She then opted to try "Good girl!" Hadley was there in a flash.

It's cute and funny, but it also got me thinking. Is there a word or phrase that you always respond to? Do you have a second name like my sweet Hadley?

It's not a name or phrase for me. But sometimes, there is a still, small tug in my soul. I don't respond to it 100%. I wish I did. But it always feels like God tugging on my soul to get my attention. Just like Hadley responding to "Good girl," there is always some "treat" or measure of peace when I respond to that tug.

How do you hear God?


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Not the Why but the Who

Katy, my older cat, loves to sleep next to me. I lie on my side and hold the blanket up and she curls up next to my tummy as I let the blankets gently cover her. Often, I can't hear her purr, but as I rub her belly I can feel the vibrations, the contentment. It's a soothing ritual the two of us have developed.

Often times I have difficulty finding that kind of contentment. I think it is because I am driven to know the why of things. I like to know why it works and why you don't do it this other way. I like to know why things need to be this way rather than that way. I don't know that I actually pestered my parents so much with the questions. (I would have gotten immediate consequences if I had not had immediate obedience.) But, to the extent I was able, there was a quest for "Why?"

I'm posting today at the Internet Cafe. Click here to finish reading this post.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Finish Line

I must say I was a little nervous going into my first race since track and field day in the 6th grade. (We won't talk about how long ago that was!) The Lake Bloomington Race was 4.37 miles. I placed 495. There were over 1100 people running. (Don't get to excited about that number as some did the longer 12K race. I don't know how many ran the short.) My official time was 1 hour and 5 minutes. My unofficial time was 1 hour four minutes and 30 seconds. (The difference is that slower runners started at the back and I kept track of how long it actually took us to get to the starting line!) That's about a 14:46 minute mile. Not too shabby after only running 8 weeks, huh?

I look pretty enthused here, don't I? I did a combination of walking and running. Marge was one of the Catch the Wave group 10 leaders. She ran the last quarter mile or so with me. I sprinted towards the end. Several people commented on how good I looked finishing. If only they could have seen me at mile 3!

I'm sure there will be ample analogies in the future. Right now, I think I might take a nap. I actually just got back from the dog park with Hadley so she is up for a nap as well!