Seeking and Finding

Unsettled in Silence…

It’s been lonely around the house . . .

Every time I pick up my keys, I find myself checking to see if she’s there . . .

But each time, she isn’t – and I know that she never will be again.

I keep listening for the “click, click, click” of her paws as she runs down the hall, but all is silent. It’s unnerving. For so many years now, I’ve been used to having her at my side – a second shadow. All her funny habits, her big personality, her unconditional love . . . These are now just memories – captured in pictures and iPhone videos.

I’m told our case is called a “failed foster,” but she will always be one of my greatest prides. My best girl Rosie – our black Lab that we fostered and then adopted . . . “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

My family and I have always had a soft spot for our furry friends. All the pets we’ve had over the years were rescues. I think those make the best pets. I remember the day Rosie came into our lives. The deal was that we were going to foster her over the weekend. The issue was that she never left. Well, that is until she was called to cross over the Rainbow Bridge to chase butterflies on the other side.

I’d like to think that my dad is there with her, in Heaven, throwing a stick for her to chase. It’s funny how in death, our furry friends get elevated to the position of beloved and honored family member.  And I say, RIGHTLY SO!

Not to replace Rosie mind you, but Kay and I did consider getting another dog. And as anyone could guess, we were reluctant. The thought: ‘But really – Would we be attempting to replace Rosie?’ just kept creeping in. I mean, there really was only one Rosie. God created the best dog ever, and we were blessed to have her. There is NO replacing her! Besides that, no one really wants a “rebound pet” anyway. It’s kind of like escalating things out of the “friend zone” into something intimate after the demise of a long-term relationship—you “rebound” into something short lived because, in the end, you can’t stand the other person. So instead of having patience and waiting on “God’s time” as we say, you rush into something foolhardy and most often wind up worse off because of it.

A Short Aside & A Rascal’s Rebound

We had a “rebound pet” once. His name was Rascal. He was a black and white Feist . . . and I. Loathed. Him.

I tried to love him—I promise I did. And even when his creepy personality made that impossible, I tried, at the very least, to like him. In the end though, I loathed poor Rascal. He was the dog sent to us straight out of the pits of hell! – But that’s another article for another newsletter.

All in Good Time

Anyways, get back on track, we considered getting another dog, and again, we were understandably hesitant. Even so, chalking things up to a faith leap, we started looking around for another potential fur baby.

We knew we would never find another Rosie, and we didn’t want to. I suppose, as empty nesters, Kay and I need to connect with something that we can care for. We’ve done our time with children. Pets are the next best thing. We repine that our once noisy house is eerily silent, even more so since Rosie’s been gone.  

Kay found a few options on Facebook. An acquaintance in Ingomar had what promised to be a good pup, but it was snatched up by another family. Several days later, Kay saw that a litter of Labrador puppies had been dropped off at the Tupelo Lee Humane Society. There was one stand out amongst them . . . a little tan female that caught my eye. Her name is Pippa.

So off we went to Tupelo – our hearts set on returning with Pippa. But alas . . . upon arrival, we discovered that Pippa had been fostered! Not all was lost, of course, because there were several other dogs that wanted a new home. A bit defeated, we start surveying from cage to cage, as all the dogs in the room seemed to bark “TAKE ME, PICK ME, I’M THE BEST ONE . . . I PROMISE I’LL BE GOOD!”

Then it happened — suddenly we were staring at a little tan fur-ball, with big brown eyes staring back at us. She never barked. I walked up to the cage and introduced myself: “Hi, my name is Dan.” I was met by a perk of the ears and a slight turn of the head, as she raised up to greet me. The card on her cage told me that her name was Noa.

Every time I spoke, Noa turned her head as if she was searching the deeper meaning of every word I was saying. Kay read the following words off the card: “Noa. Two months old, Pointer-Lab mix.” Talk about cute as a button. Kay and I smiled at each other and agreed: “She’s the one!”

A Reminder to Remember!

So, here we are! A few days and several pee stains in the carpet later, Noa is fitting in nicely. Mom’s dog really doesn’t seem to like her (she and Rosie were big buddies), but aside from that, Noa seems to be stealing our hearts. Of course, ‘She’s not Rosie!’ And that’s good! She doesn’t need to be. She’s Noa, with plenty of personality of her own, and a different set of funny habits that are beginning to emerge.

These things remind me of something Paul said in his letter to the Romans: “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Rm. 8:15 ESV).

The operative word here is adoption. The Greek form of the word is υἱοθεσίας (transliterated: huiothesia). The first part of the word, υἱο (huio) is the Greek word for “son,” whereas the last part θεσίας (thesia) means to “lay” or “place.” Paul makes clear the fact that in Christ Jesus, we have nothing to fear over and against the power structures of the world and their influence on the wellbeing of our temporal and spiritual bodies.

Additionally, to use the term “son,” in conjunction with “place(d)” may imply a shift from not belonging to belonging. For Paul, to be lost is to live in perpetual fear and anxiety, completely isolated from God. If this is so, then Abba Father’s act of “finding” signals that God is not merely waiting on us to surrender any more than a puppy without a home is waiting for someone to adopt it. In this sense, the word, υἱοθεσίας – though used as a noun – could almost pass for a verb since it describes something God—not us—is doing: looking, seeking, finding, and proclaiming us as God’s own.

In other words, our Heavenly Father is ADOPTING! I don’t know about you, but that comforts me. Jesus is more willing to seek me than I am willing to find Him. What a loving and blessed Savior we have!

On the ride home, Noa shivered as if deathly frightened by what was happening to her. I think life has stacked the deck against us enough times that we can all relate to that feeling. But now? Now she jumps; she plays; she barks; she makes mischief on the floor (sometimes); and she even sleeps between Kay and I.

Some might say she saw us coming, or that she hit the jackpot when we showed up. But actually, maybe we hit the jackpot too.  That’s what being found is like. To be a little more preachy about it before signing off: that’s the life change that comes with surrendering to Jesus. I get that. Folks aren’t wrong to think of “seeking and finding” in a salvific framework, but as someone who was once alone, anxious, hopeless, and locked away, I’m thankful for the day Jesus found me, opened my cage, and brought me to a place that I can call Home.

Bless you! Abba Father!