I love having a dog, but it sure is a lot of work. Charlie needs to be fed twice a day every day. He needs to be given water several times a day, especially in the heat we have been having. He also needs to be supervised when doing doggie business outside.
Then there are his grooming needs! A dog with such beautiful long hair needs to be brushed regularly. Since he is an inside dog, he needs to have his nails trimmed, and I buff them for him too. At least once a month he gets a bath to keep his skin fresh and clean.
Charlie also needs to visit the veterinarian! So far, he has been a healthy pup so he only goes once a year. He gets a regular check-up and any boosters he might need.
Along with all of Charlie’s physical needs, he also needs love and attention. He gets lots of pets and snuggles from me, but he also needs to play. He wants to run around, chase a ball, and hunt for woodland creatures.
All this is a lot of work for just one person, so I am thankful that my husband and kids are there to help out! I wouldn’t be able to take care of all of Charlie’s needs with just them, though. We need the vet to take care of shots and checkups. When I go on vacation, we get friends to watch him or he
goes to the kennel.
We need others in more than just pet care. We need others in our lives everyday.
There seems to be a strong tendency (especially for us, Americans) to think we can do things on our own. Independence is highly valued. I don’t know if it’s really a true story, though.
If you think about it, there isn’t much you can say you’ve done without some help from others.
We don’t learn to walk or talk or read on our own. We don’t grow all our own food. We don’t drive in cars we’ve made or on roads we’ve paved. We don’t pay ourselves, we don’t generate our own electric, and we don’t build our own homes.
While we like to kid ourselves that we are independent, the truth is we rely on others for many things. That reliance seems to increase as we age or if we become ill. One of the complaints I hear most often when I visit homebound folks is that they aren’t independent anymore. The good news is, there are people who want to help!
One of the things I find interesting about working for the church is the plethora of people who want to do something good and positive for others and the severe lack of folks who want someone to help them.
It seems funny that every time we read the story of the good Samaritan the only person we imagine being is the passerby or the helper. What about when you are the one who has been robbed and beaten?
Of course, I don’t wish ill on anyone, but misfortune, poor health, and even old age happen to us as part of life. That’s reality. Why do we try so hard to pretend either it isn’t happening or won’t?
Vulnerability is part of human existence. We are fragile both physically and mentally. That is a scary state, especially in a world that insists on our security and strength.
God knows our weakness and he loves us through it. He sent Jesus to show us the way, and He told us how to care for each other. Life has that beautiful ebb and flow like the ocean. Sometimes we give the help, sometimes we receive it. There is no shame in that.
We need each other. We cannot accomplish much in life without others. It is through learning how to accept love and assistance from other people that we learn how to accept that love and assistance from God, himself.
Charlie doesn’t mind who puts the food in his dish, he only knows that he can’t do it for himself. I guess he has learned to ask for help. Right, Charlie?
Christy Cabaniss - Parish Minister