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To Love or Not Love
Photo: Gwen Simmons
Molly is our family’s Cocker spaniel. Actually, she is our son Jon’s dog and always has been, even though we didn’t necessarily set out for it to be that way. It’s just that Jon is so obviously her favorite that the rest of us can’t deny that she belongs to him. Jon’s cheek is the only one she will kiss (not that I’m dying to have dog spit on my face), Jon is the one she runs to when she gets into mischief, and given a choice, Jon’s lap is the one she prefers sitting on.

The reason for this is clear. Jon is the only one who has always loved Molly unconditionally. No matter how bad her breath is (she enjoys carrying around rotting critters), no matter how stinky or matted her fur becomes, no matter how many times he has to retrieve her from someone else’s yard, Jon always loves Molly. And she knows it.

It's Easy to Love Her Now

Lately, however, Molly and I have been bonding, sort of. We’ve been at home together on these summer days, and though she isn’t a house dog (obviously since she carries decaying animals around), I have made a point to pet her and talk to her every day. I look into her pretty brown eyes and talk baby babble to her while I scratch her curly, long ears. But I have a confession to make. My love for Molly is conditional. You see, she has recently had a summer haircut and a thorough bath, so she no longer stinks. In addition to the hygiene improvement, the underground boundary system has been repaired so she no longer has to be retrieved from her mischievous travels.
So, the point is,  it’s easy to love her now.

I’m a little bit ashamed of this, I must say. It’s a good thing I don’t love my husband and kids the same way. But even more, I’m soooooo glad that God doesn’t love me that way. I mean, I have to admit that there are times when I stray outside God’s boundary of safety. But God always picks me up and carries me back. And while I don’t let my hair get matted or carry road kill around in my mouth, some of the things I do can really stink. But God has a high tolerance for my shortcomings. That’s why, when given a choice, I’d rather sit in His lap than anywhere else. And if I could, I’d kiss his cheek.

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By Gwen Simmons. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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