Small wonders fill us with thanksgiving: this is the lesson of young Nessie.
We are urban by choice, but Hope works hard at urban gardening and Nessie, the growing puppy-almost-a-dog, has discovered her lemons. She discovers them everyday since they started growing on the tree. She has wondered about each step in the process from small green to large yellow. The amazing thing is that every day she looks at the tree as if she has never seen just this tree before that moment. Nessies studies the tree with care.
Sometimes if I am working downstairs and come upstairs, Nessie leaps up and comes over with her whole body wagging. She is full of delight and if I say the magic words: “Do you want a bone treat?” then she will bound to the pantry and sit and wait for her bone. Nessie will not take the bone until she hears “OK” and then she dashes off to the conservatory to her favorite spot on the carpet to chomp down her treat. Each day, several times a day, she is walked to the dog park where she faithfully goes “potty on the grass.” When done, she always looks up at me waiting for “Good Nessie” and then wipes her overly large feet. We then throw her ball and she frolics and fetches until Houston heat saps her energy.
She is a very good dog.
Whenever she looks intently at something, say our lemons, I am reminded to look too. Her joy and wonder becomes my own as I stare at what Hope has grown and how marvelous our lemons are. Nessie is happy with us and that reminds me to be happy with us. When I see Hope in the morning, rolling over to give her a hug, am a full of joy? Hope is there! She is with me! Hurrah! How could I not rejoice? If she brings me a cup of coffee, and she is the maker of coffee in our house, then I should be thankful for this undeserved treat.
Nessie has the right attitude and I should be at least as good as a dog.
This is very hard to achieve for any of us as we are more complicated than little Nessie. We demand more of life and we should. We are humans and our needs are greater than pats on the head, fascinating lemons, and treats. High culture beckons and we should heed the call. Our lives demand complicated ethical, political, philosophical, and social decisions. God has chosen to let us decide things and so does not make all things plain. God does not take us out. We can choose to foul our own homes or can strive to become civilized. This is hard work, becoming human, so hard that we forget that humans are also animals. We can appreciate a fine film, but we also can marvel at the lemon tree. We can vote in our Republic, but we also enjoy a good treat. We need high romance, but also enjoy simple affirmation.
This is why we must pause, especially near holy days or feasts and look to the simple, animal pleasures. We can marvel at our Thanksgiving decorations all over again. We can enjoy friendly words from family. We can frolic. The day will come when God will say to us “Well done” not as pets or mere beasts, but as sons and daughters. Yet there also will be for us, in God’s “well done” an animal thrill, a sheer, simple joy at having pleased the good God, the Heavenly Father, the Creator.
God help us be better than dogs by first being as good as those noble animals. I think I will take Nessie to look at our lemons.