Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Welcoming Winston

I've been meaning to write a post called "Awaiting Winston" for several days now; he was supposed to come home last Thursday but was unable to. He had kennel cough, which disallowed his intubation, which prevented his neutering surgery, which delayed his homecoming.

We were ready for him, yet he couldn't come. We had prepared a place for him... a crate... bowls... food... a collar... tags with his new name and contact information for our home. It sounds silly to make much of it, as if it is some profound thing, but it has been a profoundly moving experience for me, preparing for this dog. Moreso than when we adopted Pippin into our home - we found Pip and brought him home the same day, getting all the "stuff" we needed for him after the fact - this experience of preparing for this dog ahead of time has reminded me in some small way of my adoption as a child of God.

The Lord has set His love upon me, based on no actual merits of my own. He knows my sinful nature, my tendency toward selfishness and wrongdoing and sin, and yet He has chosen me for His family... welcomed me to join His Kingdom work despite His full knowledge of how much I'll fail... of what a pain I'll continue to be, despite my best efforts...

Very few ever love with even a shadow of that grace, that mercy, that forbearance and acceptance and tenacity. It is agape love... God-love...

Don't get me wrong. I do not mean to suggest that I have this sort of love for my new dog. But preparing for his arrival into my home has reminded me, ever so slightly, of how God chooses to call me His own, despite His certain knowledge of my impending and continual failure. This dog is not at all like any dog we've ever owned before. Interestingly, it is the first dog we've ever considered adopting which iivo has appreciated from the get-go... and the first one I've ever not liked from the start. This must be a "man's dog," of sorts.

But I'm very aware of his faults and flaws. He sheds terribly. He's big and a little wild. He has a destructively waggy tail. He has oozing wounds on his ears. He is a jumper. He is not housebroken. All in all, he has little to commend him to the potential adopter. And yet we have chosen him. We have received him, set our love on him, agreed to "instruct him and teach him in the way he should go," and committed to call him our own even when he fails to do so.

And so, I present to you Winston, the newest canine member of our family. (He's pretty dopey in this video, taken just hours after his surgery.)

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