NOTE: This week I’m sending a daily devotion based on reflections on Jake the Beagle. Our regular weekly/Monday meditations will resume next week. Hope these are meaningful for you!
I think that people who seem gruff or even mean are simply defending themselves. Past hurts and disappointments harden the heart and turn a face downward.
We’re born with neither a scowl nor a propensity to tweet harsh things. Rather, we start life seeking signs of acceptance, warmth, and affection.
Jake was an expert in this.
From the very first day when he made our house his home, a favorite antic was to lie down on the area rug in our living room. He’d then turn over on his back, with his paws bent downwards, and look up at us with an expression that said, “You know what to do.”
We did. We’d bend down and give him a belly rub. That just made his day.
Sometimes he’d join us on the sofa while we watched TV. We’d pet him. But when we stopped, like changing the volume on the remote or reaching for popcorn, he’d insistently nuzzle us. “Why’d you stop? You were petting me. Let it continue!”
And so it would.
Admittedly, this all got tiring after a while. Just how many belly rubs and head scratches did one canine need? An infinite number, apparently. But, really, who could resist such an adorable sight? Certainly we couldn’t.
Maybe we’re drawn to such canine cuteness because dogs express the same need for affection that we do, only more openly and honestly. How differently would some people have turned out if they’d experienced more of the human touch, more of unconditional love? And how would we ourselves live differently if we experienced more of such warmth?
It helps me deal with gruff people if I remember that they weren’t born that way, and that it’s not too late for them.
“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28