I have always been an animal lover. As a young girl, my bed was littered with stuffed animals of various kinds and wherever I went, they had to accompany me. As I grew older and since living in apartments was not conducive to having a dog, we had cats. Surprisingly though, at 10 years old my mother gave us a puppy for Christmas. Lincoln as he was named was a purebred Boxer. The three of us girls spoiled him rotten and had no idea how to train, therefore he was wild. If we had to move back into an apartment, Lincoln went to live with my grandparents, but Lincoln was always loyal to us girls and so excited to see us. His unconditional love for us was very apparent.
When I married, my husband had a black Labrador named Sport. He had acquired him as a puppy at six weeks old, and he went everywhere Don did. When Sport was much older, we had a tragic incident and put him to sleep. He had attacked a two year old neighbors little girl and had done major damage to her face. We were sued and soon thereafter the family moved. Months later because of the void without a dog in the house, a relative let us choose from a litter of purebred Golden Retrievers. The kids and I decided on a female that we named Carly. We had her for about six months but had to give her away because we were not ready after the tragedy. My aunt and uncle took her who lived down at the beach and Carly thrived. It was interesting whenever I went to visit them, Carly always remembered me as she would run up wagging her tail and just love on me.
Several years later we were finally ready to get another dog. A family that we would see frequently in the park at a ball game had a chocolate lab named Jack that had the biggest paws I had ever seen on a puppy. I mentioned if they ever bred Jack, I wanted a puppy. When that time arrived, I went every weekend to their house to observe the litter, so I could pick out the perfect one! I picked out a male black lab with the biggest paws. We named him Jackson because he was Jack’s son.
I have suggested to Don through the years that if he treated me half as good as Jackson has he would be a very happy man! Let me tell you why. Jackson worships the ground I walk on. Every day, the minute I move a muscle, his tail is thumping and he jumps up to greet me. Of course, it is because he wants me to feed him, but whatever works! When I have my quiet time, he sits in the recliner with to me. As I shower, he lies right in front of the shower door and waits for me. If we travel anywhere in a car, because I let him lay across my lap as a puppy, he has to be touching me at all times. When we have taken him to the lake he floats on a raft with me!
When he was around three, we got him a little friend, another black lab that we named Phoebe. She brought some excitement to his life, because where he is low keyed and kick back, she is feisty. (Sounds like a relationship that I know of!) I know that Jackson loves me, for I can do no wrong in his eyes, and he just wants to be where I am. He gives me kisses, actually they both do, yet Jackson follows me everywhere I go so Phoebe follows him. If I want to go to bed, he wants to go to bed. If I want to play, he wants to play. He listens to me and hangs on every word. He is just happy to be in my presence. So tell me friends, how do you think I feel about Jackson? Just like a cycle, he loves me therefore I love him, I love him therefore he loves me, he loves me therefore I love him……and it goes on and on. Would you believe that I have already shed tears, just thinking of the day I lose Jackson? And Phoebe will be lost!
As I have joked before, if my husband would treat me like Jackson, he would be a happy man, actually that isn’t true because he loves me well! But I do want to take this story to a different level. Taking a walk down memory lane of the dogs I have had showed me how each one was unique and special. Lincoln loved us girls, and ultimately just wanted to be with us. I know he missed us terribly. Carly was young and adapted beautifully in her new home and lived a good life, yet I always felt guilty for letting her go. Today, my relationship with Jackson and Phoebe is everything I wanted in owning a dog.
As I was writing this story, I was able to see that just as the pets loved me; it is exactly the same way that Jesus loves us. Realizing that this is a story about an animal and doesn’t even come close to God’s love, please just contemplate the similarities. The Lord wants to be with us and especially you. He waits for you and is excited to spend time with you. He longs to sit with you. Do you realize that the Lord delights just being with YOU? He misses you when you are away. It doesn’t matter where you have been, or what you have done. He desires to lavish his love and kisses on you. He sits at the door and waits for you to come home. My heart hurts and tears burn my eyes, merely contemplating how Lincoln felt or how Jackson would feel or be affected if I never came home again. I believe he would miss me terribly. More so, I know the Lord misses you when you don’t come home, yet he waits at the door for you. Maybe you have left your love for the Lord back with someone else, or you’ve given your love to someone else. Nevertheless, He still waits just for you and sheds tears over you. The Lord waits for YOU. Please come home again.