Dog is what I do

I had a conversation with our dog the other day.  She was wandering off to another corner of the house and I asked her,

“Hilda, what are you doing?”

She responded with remarkable clarity, “Dog…dog is what I do.”

It strikes me that dogs are utterly and completely at home in their dog-ness.  They aren’t redefined by any moment of activity.  They are what they are.

But it isn’t nearly as simple for us human beings.

We frequently let jobs and titles tell us who we are.  As a result, we are often disenfranchised.  We prepare to do what we will be doing.  We are laid off, home sick, or retire —- and suddenly we find ourselves at sea, without an identity.

You are not a job or title.  You are you.

Take a dog’s view of life.

Rejoice in the life you have.  Not the jobs or titles.  Those come and go.

You are here to stay.  You are what God made.

About Frederick Schmidt

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and consulting editor at Church Publishing in New York. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as several books: A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009), and The Dave Test (Abingdon, 2013). He and his wife, Natalie (who is also an academic and an Episcopal priest), live in Highland Park, Illinois, with their Gordon Setter, Hilda of Whitby. They have four children and four grandchildren: Henry, Addie, Heidi, and Sophie.


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