Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Couch with a View

By Linda Grupp Boutin

Kindu and Star use entirely different methods for dealing with the outside world. In Tae Kwon Do, our master instructor called this "environmental awareness." For our basenji boy maintaining a careful watch on the outside environment is critical. He paws the window blind covering his favorite viewing spot until we raise it up for him to maintain his watch. This is the center pillow on our couch and he places his front legs on the top cushion and leans into the fabric. He knows jumping on the top of the pillow is strictly forbidden and his back paws must remain firmly on the couch seat. How I managed to train this one behavior reliably is beyond me, but somehow he learned and follows this one lesson. The payoff for him gives him the chance to see the world outside.

Star, exactly the opposite, could care less about what is happening outdoors. She never bothers to glance out the window and looks mystified about why Kindu spends hours gazing at the world going by. When she is outside, her only goal is to get back inside to see what is going on with her people. She spends her hours observing everything that Gary or I do. While the boy focuses his energies where he has noticed cats, bunnies, even the stray child on a razor fly past, Star just wants to be a part of whatever we are doing, especially if food can be smelled or seen.

I find that I see similar behavior in the humans I interact with, some are caught up in their personal dramas and rarely venture a thought about what is happening in the larger world. My hairdresser and I discussed the lead up to the Iraq War. We both lived through the same times, but she had no idea how we got into it or why. I summed up some of the important points and that we marked the 10th anniversary of it just last week. She didn't really care too much about it, just listened politely as I spoke. I gave up, feeling a bit exasperated. I am sure that Kindu thinks Star should pay a bit more attention to the sidewalk too, but unless she is standing on it, she doesn't notice.

I think God must look at us small creatures and see we have trouble seeing the larger picture too. Tiny, insignificant disturbances throw us completely off. For some folks, the smallest of physical challenges stop them cold. For others, amputations don't slow them down. So how about you, do you take up the watch and keep your eyes open, aware of God's wonders around us. Or like Star, do you remain focused inside the house, watching carefully over your family, but maybe with your thoughts centered on the Eternal. There are advantages to each strategy that's for sure. Happy Easter and have a blessed upcoming year walking with the Lord.