duke

Yelling at the dog

I yelled at my dog today. Now, if you know anything about my dog, Duke, this is a semi-regular occurrence in our household. Usually I yell because, even though he is adorable and awesome, he has the uncanny ability to bring annoyance into my otherwise predominately calm and stress-free life. This is of course most vexing in the wee hours of the morning when he decides to bark, scratch something, or my wife’s absolute favorite: incessantly lick his paw (and by paw I do mean his actual paw but also other parts of his anatomy that I don’t want to mention. Okay, he licks his butt sometimes. Gross, I know.)

Today, however, he didn’t do any of the above things. He slept through the night and was both peaceful and calm. This morning when I got up and made my coffee and was loud, coupled with the hustle and bustle of people waking up in our neighborhood, he remained steadfast. He was shockingly quiet. That’s why I yelled. I saw him just sitting on the edge of the couch (his favorite spot) and he was staring at me. He was the epitome of being unmotivated and lazy.

So I yelled at my dog:

“Get up! “
“Go outside!”
“Chase cats and squirrels!”
“Bark at everything and everyone who moves!”
“Find something that is not yours and destroy it!”
“Go to the bathroom in the most inconvenient places!”
“Terrorize the mailman!”
“Be a dog for heaven’s sake!”

This frustration came from a place of love. I just wanted him to embrace every aspect of his canine nature and live it up! I reminded him that although in human years he was only three, in dog years he was in his twenties. Doesn’t he understand how quickly this life moves? Doesn’t he get that in doggie years he is supposed to be an adult and he better run while he still can, and bark while his vocals still work, and eat stuff while he can still stomach it?

I wonder sometimes if God wants to yell at us in frustration:

“I created you for more than this! Get up and do something.”
“Create. Engage. Invent.”
“Love. Serve. Forgive.”
“Run. Play. Eat. Drink. Fall in love.”
“Turn off the TV and log off Facebook!”
“Stay up late once in while!”
“Dance…because it’s fun!”
“Live this life to the full!”
“Be a human for heaven’s sake!”

I am remembering today that I am not a machine, nor am I a robot. I am a human, trying to become fully human. Life is indeed beautiful. We face resistance from experiencing the beauty, but we can overcome it to be our true selves. We can get off the couch.

As I write this, my dog is no longer lying on the couch. I unlocked the kitchen door and flung it wide open. Duke is running around in the backyard, barking at the top of his lungs for all to hear– patiently awaiting the arrival of the mail. For some reason that is the motivation I needed today.

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