About eight years ago, we adopted a four year-old golden Pyrenees, who had been abandoned and looked a lot like a skinny Lab. We quickly found that Glory’s abusive past left her afraid of many things–garage doors in motion, garbage trucks and thunderstorms. The first month we had her, she chewed up Brian’s wallet, a package of Crayola markers and my favorite black boots. She was content sleeping right in the middle of everything or even off in a quiet place by herself. Over time, she got used to us, and we got used to her…and all that fur that required so much vacuuming.
After a while, we thought she might be bored by herself all day, so we began the search for the ideal companion. We finally came across an energetic, Labrador mix, whose ears stuck out permanently and bounced when he walked. The day we adopted this perpetual puppy, he walked right into our house and peed on our couch. Within the next week, we found Journey got carsick on trips, and he couldn’t get away fast enough when something terrifying like a grocery store receipt fell off the counter near him.
Each of them had their quirks, but there was something about them together. It was as if they were fearless; they were different dogs. On walks around the neighborhood, UPS trucks and other loud noises no longer bothered Glory. She’d just keep on walking as if she didn’t hear a thing. Where one of the dogs might shrink back when another larger dog trotted by, now they wagged their tails and barked as if they owned the neighborhood. And at the park, they’d send lazy squirrels scurrying into the safety of their trees, and Glory would look around wondering exactly how they got away so fast. Journey, though, always had his eye on them and would park himself at the bottom of the tree, hoping for their return. Those two, together, they were a pair.
Isn’t this how we are when we are with someone we love–a friend, family member, or even trusting that God is with us? Whoever-it-might-be can bring out the best in us even when we can’t seem to see it on our own. It’s like inching your way to the edge of the high dive and seeing just how far away the water is from where you are. Your knees shake and your heart pounds, but all you want to do is perch at the top where it’s safe and talk yourself into or out of taking the next step.
Then you hear:
I believe in you.
You can do this.
I’m with you.
And you start to believe more and more that just maybe those things are true.
Like Glory, we might be scarred from our past hurts or like Journey, fearful of things that don’t even make sense. But isn’t it true? When we realize we aren’t alone, we are different dogs.