. . . is Schatzie.
She was, for all intents and purposes, my replacement. When I moved out of the house, my parents allowed her to take up residence. As I no longer spend large amounts of time with my immediate family at home (excepting Christmas, of course, and the odd vacation here and there when I'm lucky), I do not get to see her very often. Lucky for me she always remembers who I am and, thanks to my conniving methods of hour long belly rubs and the promise of beef jerky, she will allow me to hold her. She'll sleep in my room and keep my feet warm. She'll pee on the floor when I come in for excitement. She'll lick my face. She'll give me high fives. She'll look up at me expectantly when I tell her to stay, then put a treat on the floor, and stand there like a cruel slave driver, watching her patience, waiting for the command to come.
I've been thinking a lot about that particular moment recently. Those times when we test her training to see how long she will wait when the treat is not only promised, but in full view. My otherwise crazy and impatient dog will, because she wants so badly to please us, stay in her chair for extended periods of time until she is told to eat. If we walk away, she will come looking to me for permission before she eats the treat. It's funny how powerful the words of 'stay' and 'come' can be.
Not that she's perfect. I highly doubt that her patience would last if we, for example, asked her to stay, put the treat in the tray, then left the house for an hour or so. But maybe it would. Although she can be naughty and she doesn't always want to be bothered - I think Schatzie's ultimate desire in life is to please each of us.
There's a powerful symbol in that, I think. At least for me in my life and my situation right now - I feel at times like my poor dog, sitting on the floor in comfortable but foodless chair, watching the rest of my friends partaking of feasts that I have not been invited to.
Now - don't get me wrong. My life has been so abundantly blessed in the last several months that there are no words for me to adequately describe the gratitude I feel to my Heavenly Father for the guidance I have received. I have a job that I love. I have real, sincere friendships that have built me up and made me feel so wanted and loved that it's like having family close by again. I am blessed.
But occasionally, like Schatzie, I feel as though I am being relegated to a chair while others around me feast on food that I am not yet allowed to eat. It's this constant battle of wills inside of me: that feeling of overwhelming gratitude for the life that I'm leading, and the desire for the part of life I'm being denied for some reason that isn't quite clear to me yet.
So in the mean time, I'm going to try and be a little more like Schatzie. I'm going to work a little harder to please the one responsible for giving me all good things, and I'm going to (at least try) to keep my focus on those things that I have been given.