I Can’t Be What I’m Not

He sits on the couch like a little old man, a leg tucked under, watching the world. His youth is momentarily set aside by his need to see and understand what’s going on around him. His energy is curtailed by observation.

For a moment.

He’s no little old man. There are three legs on the ground as he perches on the edge of the couch. Not very people-like–though he tries to be.

Aspen, a two-year-old Labrador Retriever, would like nothing better than to be a two-legged, conversant individual invited into every area of family life that his people experience.

He works hard at it.

He prefers people food to his own, though he does scarf down his own when it’s given. He’s adept at stealing food from high chairs, anything close to the edge of the table or counter, and grabs things thought to be out of reach of his investigative mouth.

He loves people. He will always be the first to greet you when you enter his home; he shows true enthusiasm over your presence.

He has a personal entitlement to shoes–not to wear them, but to eat them. A different kind of shoe issue than the one my girls have.

In spite of his male gender, he has a greater grasp of his emotions than many men have. He whines when he’s lonely. His mournful eyes can turn a hard heart into a sympathetic one. When he’s happily engaged with his people, he embraces joy.

As much as Aspen wants to be people, he isn’t. He can’t be.

Many folks own pets they treat as if they’re people, and these animals can take on the persona of humans. Cats, dogs, even birds become safe places of comfort and confession, listening ears when people are untrustworthy, unconditional lovers when people are disappointing.

They will never be real people. No matter how much we care, coddle or connect with them.

They can’t be what they weren’t made to be.

As a kid, I thought boys had all the fun, all the best options of being something special. My brother got to play little league and soccer; options not available at the time to the three of us sisters.

I was born a girl.

Indoctrinated by all the skinny models with long legs and big eyes in advertisements, I’d have given anything to have grown my legs six inches longer and widen my eyes considerably.

I have short legs.

I’m limited with who I am by what I was created to be–a white woman living in this era in this country. With many privileges that others don’t have, and limitations that don’t define me but restrict what I may be.

My color, gender, talent and skill sets have been gifted to me by a gracious and good God. There’s no limit to what I can accomplish if I trust in the One who made me in His image to accomplish amazing things for His glory.

I can’t be what I’m not.

My options for being all I can be are limited only by faith and perseverance.

Opportunities way better than Aspen has.




2 responses to “I Can’t Be What I’m Not”

  1. Dayle, If only the Methodist church could learn this amazing spiritual message. We have lost eleven families, one a member for 40 years, as our church leadership walks into the ongoing LGBTQ train.  How is John’s healing going? A blessed week,

    Captain Tom Maxwell (USN retired)


    United States NavalAcademy 

    Central Missouri BlueGold Officer (retired) 



    1. Well, the Methodists aren’t the only ones confused by how they should respond. It can’t be an “all play” thing–it’s just not how God made us. I was having a discussion with a guy and asked if I believed I was a six-foot-tall black man, they’d have to agree with that? And he looked at me oddly and nodded. People are just weird. It shows how the world is really messed up–and in this country, we’re making messy an art form. John is doing better. He overdid when he was released to do normal life. Of course. But then, what is normal? Thanks for your kind questions, my friend. Hope you’re doing better as well!


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