I have never doubted that G-d is real. I have never questioned whether or not He orchestrates the lives of those who follow Him. But I can see that I have suffered, for a long time, from what I call “Grateful Pet Syndrome”.
“Do what?”, you ask. And rightfully so.
Grateful Pet Syndrome (GPS) is an attachment dysfunction. It’s the blind and mewling adoration one receives from the lab rescued at the pound. An animal that is just so profoundly thrilled to be get out of jail that you can do no wrong and he will kill himself, without thought, to make you happy.
Shouldn’t we have that mentality about serving G-d, though? Again, such a great question!
I think, perhaps, we should have a measure of GPS, if you will. I understand I’ve been let out of jail, my price has been paid and now I am free to wander about the Master’s house and sleep on His furniture. But at some point, in order to deepen that relationship I must move from grateful pet to autonomous human being.
That means I don’t cower in the corner when I’ve done something wrong but stand up and confess. I must attempt to converse, in whatever manner I can, with the Creator. I must hope to be aware enough to catch the barest glimpses of His heart. I am hoping to find that there is more to this relationship than the transitory bliss of belly rubs and meals out of nowhere.
I must grow up. Only in the church are there 20 year old babies…
And while He never changes. Past, present, future. Our perception of Him changes. We can begin to see the difference He has made in our lives beyond the obvious Salvation and Redemption labels we most often throw around.
I am perceiving Him much differently than I ever have. A grateful pet would never yell at the Master and beg for understanding but a Child will. A secure and well-trained Child would understand that yelling isn’t necessary. A damaged and cynical wild child will not. The Wild Child hasn’t learned yet that Father is always caring, always present and always engaged. A Wild Child must learn to respond, not react. To live in trust not in fear.
Fear. The things that go bump in the night. The mysteries we don’t understand that are far greater than our grasping little brains. The darkness He allows and the Light He provides to cast out all fear.
He is Love. But He’s not always “nice” in the way we view niceties. He’s not polite as He challenges our lives and our paradigms. He doesn’t play fair with our emotions and our favorite soap boxes.
He is busily filleting my heart and reducing me to the lowest common denominator of my soul. As I am watching the dust settle, I am beginning to see that I’m not pretty. I’m hard. I’m cynical. I’m afraid. I’m confused.
I want to believe He’s a tender and joyful Creator who adores me even in the midst of the chaotic meanderings of my quest to understand. I want to believe.
With just that tiny bit of drive. And believe me, it is SOO tiny… He strips away one more layer. One more facade. One more pretense. Until, just now, just this morning, I’m starting to hear a rustling. A whispering. I don’t know where it’s coming from, it doesn’t frighten, so I think it’s ok. It could just be that I am too obtuse to know what is good and what is not…. But it’s there nonetheless and it thrills me in the back of my heart where I didn’t think anything lived anymore. It seems far away, but I think it’s more like the blind man who saw “men as trees”. The men didn’t, of their own merit, become more visible. His ability to see was transformed.
So, while I am learning all the things that I am. I’m trying to learn that who I am doesn’t matter so much. I think He’s sifting me. He’s making room. For something. Wonderful? Terrible? Mundane? I have no idea. And I could be light years off base and merely fooling myself because I want to believe. Don’t underestimate the power of self-delusion. Look at any politician and you’ll get my point.
All I’m saying is this… I’m attempting to make baby steps toward the I AM. It doesn’t matter which direction I come from, if I am headed toward Him, earnestly seeking, I will find Him. That is what I am choosing to believe.
Even a Grateful Pet can do that.