Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Apathy Replaced

I took Honeybun and Asherel out to the backyard, and told her I was going to show her two different scenarios.
"I am not an agility handler, so try to ignore my handling skill."
Asherel swung on the tire swing, and watched.

"Here is scenario number one," I said.
I showed Honeybun the food bait, but otherwise, I acted a little bored and disinterested. Calmly, as though we were taking a stroll through the park, I pointed to jumps and quietly asked her if she might like to follow me. Because she is a good and loving dog, she did the course, but she did it slowly and with little enthusiasm or joy.

"Now, here is scenario number two," I said.
I bounced up and down and growled at Honeybun. I crouched and swiped at her, and urged her to play. She tumbled into play position and perked up with delight. I told her to "wait" at the start line, but I bent low and in a deep excited growl, repeated, "Ready? Ready? Ready?"
Every muscle in the little dog quivered as she could hardly contain herself.
"Go!" I shouted. She shot over the jumps. We raced together around the course, me shrieking and yelping encouragements and cuing her as far as my poor handling skills could, with excited vigor.  Honeybun roared over the jumps and then weaved with a skip, raced through the tunnel, and soared exuberantly through the course. She collected her reward, prancing and wagging.
"See the difference?" I asked.
"Fine," said Asherel, "But practice handling before you do that again."
She took the remainder of the hotdog and marched off to impose joy and enthusiasm on her happy dog.

I think we may have solved the problem of the disinterested dog who didn't seem to want to run the course on Sunday. If it is a job with no fun, no play, no excitement....well, jobs get old fast. And if the leader isn't particularly enthusiastic about what he is telling his soldiers to do, the soldiers will eventually mutiny.

There are lessons to home schooling moms like me in this little vignette. And as a wife, as a mother, as a worker, as a volunteer...Sometimes we all lose steam. Life becomes a drudgery, and exhausting, and we sink into robotic going through the motions with no real heart. One of the big lessons of the very hard year of rehabilitating Honeybun was that even when I didn't feel like being the strong alpha dog in her pack, I had to be a convincing fake. For her own security, she had to know that I was in charge and I would not let her down. And the more I practiced being what I knew I had to be, the better I became at it.

I woke up this morning, and snapped open the newspaper. There was a long article about my book, and our year of struggle rehabilitating the little dog! I have been in the paper a few times because of the accomplishments of my kids...but never because of something I have done. I smiled up to my ears, and thought about how I had almost given up, over and over and over again. However, God just wouldn't let me, until I ran the course, and ran it with joy.

Whatever we do, we are commanded by God to do it wholeheartedly, as for the Lord, and not for others. He doesn't command this to exhaust us with the sheer burden of energetic living. He commands it because in the end, we will be transformed. Apathy has no place in a world that is filled with rainbows, and waterfalls, and dogs with wagging tails.

Ephesians 6:6-8

6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do

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