Old Dog, New Tricks

Our daughter and her husband are in a transitional phase, so they’ve moved in with us for a time.

They didn’t come alone.

Their dog, Barkley, a delightful Heinz 57 mixture of many sweet breeds, came with them. At eight, he’s mellowed and kind.

And a bit set in his ways.

This move was a little disruptive for him. He’s literally off his feed–he doesn’t want to eat. 

Unless Debbie sits with him on the floor and hand feeds him.

Some might call him spoiled. Others might say, “He’ll eat if he gets hungry enough.”

Barkley has been forced into a change he hadn’t anticipated. New house, new parameters, new rules.

I don’t blame Barkley at all for his response. He was comfortable with what was. Which no longer is.

He was reacting to change.

We’re all comfortable with what we know, with our established routines. Knowing what to anticipate gives us a false sense of control. 

Comfort is a value that most people cling to. We can get through a lot of tough situations if we know there are certain things we can count on, expectations that are guaranteed.

Nothing in this life is guaranteed. Change happens–constantly. Our responses to unexpected changes can be dramatic, like Barkley’s. Disruption rarely sits well with us. Particularly when we have a strong sense of how things should be.

The pandemic has forced us all into new territory we didn’t ask for, hadn’t anticipated. Its duration has pushed many of us to places we never wanted to be: disappointment, despair, anxiety, sadness, loss. These changes are hard and heavy, and when everyone is experiencing them together, it becomes even more difficult to find a place of peace, a respite, in the midst of the challenges.

Change is inevitable. It happens whether I want it to or not. It does bring up the question, though: In a world of change and the unexpected, is there anything that remains consistent that I can rely on no matter what my circumstances?


This answer is unsatisfactory to some because they don’t feel they can trust Him with the hard things in life; they fear He may disappoint them as well.

The simple answer is He might.

Because He knows what’s best for us.

God is the same forever; He doesn’t change, and He fulfills His promises.

He is not and never has been a magic genie where wishes can be fulfilled and life is made the way we want it to work.

His presence with those who know Him, who seek Him, is real and satisfying. His strength is what carries me through as I recognize my own weaknesses. 

He doesn’t always answer my prayers as I’d like. He sometimes says “no” or “wait”.

Neither of those is easy to deal with. But His presence is with me. His peace fills my heart. He knows better than I do what I need to thrive.

Debbie recognizes Barkley needs help in this transition. Hand-feeding him is an act of love and compassion to get him through this change.

God is even more compassionate than this, holding us close to His heart, reminding us of His presence, letting us know He’ll never leave us.

Even this old gal can learn that new trick.




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