Monday, August 25, 2008

Peace amidst Chaos

I recently house sat for a friend of mine. Her home is tucked away in an outer suburb of the city of Rockford. Sitting on her front porch, all that can be seen are the few homes surrounding hers. Gentle, sloping hills and cornfields nestle the little subdivision. I enjoy the opportunity to house and dog sit for my friend, because it affords me the luxury that I seldom get to experience in my own home. I can eat whatever I want, do whatever I wish, go wherever I please, and set my own hours. Except for letting the dog out, bringing in the mail and watering the vegetable garden and flowers, nothing else is required of me.

One evening as I attempted to retire for the night, I was pondering the peace that this little mini- vacation provided for me. I had brought my own dog with me to play with my friend's pup and was preparing to get us all ready for a restful night's sleep after our late evening stroll. I turned out the light and settled down in the luxurious four poster pillow topped bed, and that is when the sound began. A whistling, singing tea kettle like sound that pierced the restful darkness of the evening. My friend's dog, Harley wanted to be up in the bed with me and my dog.The tea kettelling repeated itself several times. Harley being about twenty pounds heavier than my little dog, could not get up in the bed without assistance. His nasal serenade alerted me to this fact. I refused to attempt lifting him as I had recently had my gallbladder removed and lifting thirty something pounds of pup would have been disastrous. I attempted to ignore the whistling and rolled over to face the other direction, my dog snuggled at my feet, already snoring away, sighed from the disruption.

Harley was not satisfied with sleeping arrangements alongside the bed on the floor, and decided that he would have none of this nonsense. He wobbled around to the other side of the bed where I was laying and proceed to gently tug at the covers hanging over the edge. I pulled up the excess blankets adorning the empty side of the bed, only to find that Harley already had the corner of the bedspread firmly clamped in his jaws. Now, it was tug of war with me being on the losing end. I was to say at the least, getting slightly perturbed by this canine companion and hastened him out to the hall with an old bed sheet and his shabby, fuzzy Mr Happy toy. I closed the door with a determination to get back to my slumberous bliss.

I clicked the light off on the bedside table and Harley began to howl, and scratch the door with his forepaws. The noise started out small at first, with him sniffing underneath the door and then it began to build in some kind of a crescendo like fury as he attempted to scratch the varnish of the bedroom door. I leaped out of the bed and let my woeful friend back in the dark room, scolding him for making such a mess of the peaceful night. I retrieved a dog treat from the paw printed " yum yum jar" on my girlfriend's dresser, turned on the light and proceeded to coax Harley up on the bed. Now there was my dog, squinting in disbelief as I attempted "circus tricks" with our furry friend trying to convince him that he could indeed get up on the bed all by himself. Unfortunately, those attempts were unsuccessful and I realized that this could go on all night.

My dog was now wide awake and seeing that I had treats he attempted to stand on the bed and twirl with his little paws in the air begging for me to give him some yum yums' too! Exasperated, I sat on the edge of the bed at 1:00 a.m., while I watched the two dogs play, mine jumping around the bed and Harley playing "tag you're it" with my dog from the floor. As I sat there bleary eyed something occurred to me. How was I going to get this bleeping dog into the bed without straining myself to oblivion? I then noticed my suitcase on the floor. I slowly walked over to the suitcase and pushed it up against the bed. I then prompted the Harley monster to jump up on the suitcase and from there up onto the bed. With one swift move, the dog leaped up onto the suitcase and effortlessly sailed through the air onto the foot of the bed. Now I was so overjoyed to have both dogs on the bed, I nearly cried as I eagerly climbed back onto the bed, diving under the covers. I reached over and turned out the light for what seemed like the tenth time.

I lay down and started to feel my body relax when Harley decided he needed to crawl underneath the covers and sheet. Burrowing down to the foot of the bed, Harley finally went to sleep. All was relatively quiet until about one hour later, when I was awakened by an overpowering odor. Apparently, Harley was having some digestive challenges and he needed to release some gas from his intestines. I thrashed around in the bed trying to move as far away as I could from the fragrance of dog gas that permeated the room.

As I lie there in the bed after opening the window looking out into the night, I started thinking. We do so many things to serve the Lord, in our churches, homes and workplaces as well as our communities, yet we rarely take time to be alone with our creator on a daily basis.There is something to be said about being by yourself, perhaps it is the soul's ability to hear from God. Whispers of the Holy Spirit, penetrate the deep recesses of one's heart when time is set aside for communion with the Father.

Tranquility is lost in the bustling frantic activities of our day to day schedule, and it is only in the aloneness that we are able to begin to see the image of our creator and his hand on our lives. The bible talks about how Jesus would arise early and steal away in a quiet place to be alone with the father Mark 1:35. Sometimes the Lord will isolate us so that we have no choice but to be alone with him. It is then that we begin to hear his voice and realize the importance of quiet time with God. We often fight this quiet time out, yet our hearts and minds crave an opportunity to rest.

We must depend upon peaceful time, to walk with our maker and hold his hand as he speaks tenderly to our hearts. How many times did Jesus long to steal away and be alone with the Father, yet there were lepers to heal, children to bless, blind needing sight restored, and disciples needing tending. Jesus was everything to everyone, yet he never failed to look up to the Father in quiet contemplation from some isolated place. Our relationship with our Father must be like that as well. We have to take the time to steal away to fix our eyes upon God regardless of the interruptions and insane moments we experience in our day to day lives. It is only in peaceful moments amidst the chaos, that we truly experience God's peace at work in our soul.

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