The night is cold and windy, but the two black dogs lie out in the yard on a dirty blanket. They have a house. It is warm and dry in their house. The owner of these canines is such a soft-hearted pushover that he even installed a heated pad in the floor of the little structure. But their blanket is out in the yard on the cold, damp dirt. And, since they don’t want to lie on that hard heating pad on the hard floor of the house, they lie on the filthy soft blanket in the yard and they shiver.
You would expect that the dog’s owner would be intelligent enough to place the blanket in the house. Over the heating pad. You would even expect that it could be a clean blanket. What dog lover wouldn’t want to do that for his furry friends?
Can I set your mind at rest? The owner of these particular pooches has done just that. Again and again. Multiple times, every day, the blanket is shaken free of debris and refolded. The owner leans down and tosses the soft cloth over the floor of the house, provided an inviting and warm bed for the dogs. Attempts to secure the blanket have been made, but have failed, with the stubborn puppies pulling it outside nearly as quickly as it can be reinstalled in its proper place. The owner’s Lovely Lady has laundered the blanket on frequent occasions, but a blanket dragged over dirt several times a day is never clean for more than a few moments. So, the dogs shiver in the cold and damp on a filthy blanket when they have a great place to be warm and dry and the opportunity to lie on a clean bed.
They drag the blanket out of the place it should be! Around the yard it trails after them as they fight over it, tearing holes in the material and soiling it. Not happy with leaving it where it belongs, again and again, they move it where they think they want it. Dumb animals! That’s what we would call them. It’s what I mutter under my breath several times a day. Turns out, they’re not so much unlike their humans.
The young man stood in front of me at the music store the other day with a pained look on his face. “I can’t believe that there are no jobs around here!” came the exasperated outburst. “I’ve looked and looked and can’t find a job I want.” I thought about the last couple of words of his statement for a few seconds. Then I asked him what he meant. Did “can’t find a job I want” mean that there really were jobs available? Little by little, and quite reluctantly, he told me what he meant. It seems that there really were jobs, but they were either in food service or the poultry industry, and he wasn’t about to hustle pizza or shuttle dead chickens to the freezer. I was tempted to laugh at him, but then I thought that maybe I could actually help a little. “If those jobs aren’t good enough for you, what are your qualifications for other work?” I anticipated that the young man might have other experience or at least some training for other work, but I was to be disappointed. He had a GED and had never done anything else besides some part-time construction work. But…he had a “go-getter attitude” and “a lot of self-confidence.” His words, not mine. I gently suggested that perhaps the pizza job might be a good place to start, while he is working at bettering his skill-set, knowing that the words would probably fall on deaf ears. They did.
Mr. Aesop would remind us that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, but it seems that we have to learn that for ourselves. Never satisfied with the bounty we know, we seek for happiness in our own way, frequently becoming sadder but wiser. I’m not advocating the absence of a dream; not even suggesting that we shouldn’t reach further. You know by now that I believe that we need to always be striving to do better and aiming for goals in the distance. What I am describing is the foolish rejection of provision which is ours for the taking, the gifts of a beneficent Creator, given to sustain us as we grow and mature (and reach). But, like the dogs, or even like my young friend, we somehow think our wisdom exceeds His and we move our blanket into the cold, or reject the necessities in front of us, because that just doesn’t fit our notion of the proper order of things. It’s a lesson I’m continuing to learn, well into my middle age. I definitely feel sadder more often than wiser.
I’m going to head for home in a few moments. I’ll stop by and return the blanket to the dog’s house. They may be cold enough by now to leave it in there for the rest of the night. I hope I can learn a lesson from the simpleminded little creatures.
It could happen…
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you now have was once among the things that you only hoped for.”
(Epicurus~Greek philosopher~341-270 BC)
“Godliness with contentment brings a great profit.”
(I Timothy 6:6)