My brother’s dog provided the inspiration for this post. He’s everything you want in a dog–fun, playfulness, friendship. Mike takes him out on his ultra-marathon training runs in the mountains and parks near Denver, where he lives these days.
This dog has no shortage of energy. He loves to run. He loves to play and get dirty. He especially looooooovvvveesss fetch, but there’s one catch. (Ha, ha…get it?)
Kobe, like many other dogs (so I hear), absolutely despises letting go of his frisbee for his master to pick up and throw for him. He will run like the wind when his frisbee or other toy is tossed into the distance, dutifully bring it back to his master, but then…does he simply drop the toy so his master can throw it again and keep the game going?
Of course not! Kobe has to hang on, clutching that frisbee between his big, sharp teeth so tightly, I don’t know who other than my brother can dare try to wrench it away. (Although I’ve been fairly impressed at my parents’ audacity and courage–even at their age, with four replaced limbs between the two of them, they play wholeheartedly with Kobe).
I guess it is all part of the game, to a dog. Part of their excitement is directly tied to the epic battle between dog and human. Who will emerge the victor, holding the frisbee? It’s clearly not all about the throwing and retrieving.
Kobe in action
Unfortunately for the dog, many humans will grow frustrated/nervous/tired of the battle to get the frisbee away from him to throw again. Thus the game ends all too soon.
I wonder if Kobe realizes in his little doggie brain that he’s shooting himself in the foot. Does he inwardly understand that the more he struggles, the less likely he is to get what he wants–another toss of the frisbee and another chance to run and fetch it?
I feel like the answer must be no…otherwise, why wouldn’t he catch on and realize he has to play by human rules (and their pesky need to keep all limbs intact)? Then again, perhaps it’s more an issue of wanting two things at once. Kobe wants to run and fetch the toy. Kobe wants to hold on to the toy, triumphantly. Both of these goals are singularly important to a dog. Thus, he refuses to back down. He is tough. He is strong. He is playing with his master.
The only problem is, Kobe can’t run and fetch the frisbee if he continues refusing to drop it.
You are probably wondering, why am I rambling on and on about someone else’s dog? Cute as he is, Kobe is not the point of this blog post.
No, Kobe is a creature that shows me something God may have been wanting to teach me for some time now.
Kobe is much like me. I, too, want what I want, when I want it. I, too, find it hard to focus on anything else at the moment I want something. And I, too, stubbornly cling to MY way of doing things, even when it doesn’t lead to what I wanted in the first place. Even when what I thought I wanted turns out to be unsatisfying.
Sound familiar to you, perhaps? No? Please, don’t tell me I’m the only one who hovers in the land of selfishness.
I hold on to my Frisbee, whether it may be a relationship, a sense of security, a financial gift, whatever, thinking that eventually, I will get everything I want. Perhaps, while I’m waiting, so utterly frustrated that God isn’t acting to bring me something else I desperately desire, He is simply waiting for me to drop whatever it is I’ve been clinging to. Perhaps he just needs me to let go, so he can be free to give me the other blessings that have been available all along.
Mike and Kobe