Stray Dogs and Thanksgiving Invitations…

I wake this morning intending to skip rope in the backyard forest, but as I sip my morning coffee, the sunrise is too inviting for such confinement.  I’ll run the stairs at the Aqua Theater while the sky gives me a light show to ease the pain.  As I’m jogging down to the lake, the husky pup is wandering around on the grass by the 358 bus stop and as I jog past, he attaches himself to me like I’m some sort of long lost friend.  I try to shake him off, but it’s no use; he won’t leave.

As we get to the lake, another dog distracts him for a moment and I jog on, thinking I’ve been liberated.  Just as I begin to relax, though, he’s there again, this time sniffing yet another dog on a leash.  The dog’s owner and I team up, and within minutes we’ve identified the husky owner and called them on her cell.  Mission accomplished.

As I run the stairs, my heart is filled with thoughts of attachment and adoption from last night’s movie (see previous post).  “We’re, all of us, like that husky pup” I think to myself.  It seems that, though most of us who’d be reading this kind of blog have a roof, food, and some sort of family, behind the curtain of our sufficiencies there are ways in which we’re isolated: from each other, from meaning, even from ourselves.  In our isolation, we attach ourselves to whatever comes along – the next vacation, the next promotion, the next big thing.  But when the carnival ends, we’re still roaming around, emotionally, spiritually rootless.   Like the husky who’d wandered off, we too are ‘prone to wander’, ‘prone to leave the God we love’, as the hymnist writes.

Ah, but there are calls to come home.  For me these calls come when the sun paints the clouds as it simultaneously lights up the autumn leaves, clinging to their last days on the trees around the lake.  The call comes from laughter, intimacy, beauty, and friendship.  I’ll never forget Barry Mcguir’s testimony.  The rock musician who began with ideals that he hoped would change the world, wandered aimlessly through drug tripping and emptiness.  His call home came from an afternoon on a fishing boat when some dolphins began following the vessel.  He started playing with them and the animals responded to him for miles.  Barry would later write that those dolphins were his invitation home, and so he turned the corner and began heading in a different direction that day, a direction that would ultimately lead him to Christ.

All of this is more than theory for me.  Both my adoption and the early death of my dad have left me feeling like a wanderer more than a few times.  But in my own feelings of drifting, I’ve always come across an invitation to come home to the Good God who calls himself Father.

I’m thankful, this Thanksgiving, for invitations, both those offered to me, and those I’m privileged to offer to others.  Good invitations, you see, are the roadmap home.  Tomorrow I’ll sit with friends, grown children, a wife of 30 years who’s my best friend, and tears will fill my eyes because I believe in every way that all of it, every single gift, comes from the One who is forever calling me home.

Blessed Thanksgiving to you!

About Richard Dahlstrom

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

  • Tammy

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Tammy

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Heather

    And a most blessed Thanksgiving to you,Donna, and the gang! We love and appreciate you. Prayers are lifted on your behalf for safe travels in the days ahead! Enjoy your family and fellowship.
    With Love,
    The Gregorys.

  • Heather

    And a most blessed Thanksgiving to you,Donna, and the gang! We love and appreciate you. Prayers are lifted on your behalf for safe travels in the days ahead! Enjoy your family and fellowship.
    With Love,
    The Gregorys.


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