Just recently I took a vacation and was pleased to have a friend come to my house to care for my dog and cat. I haven’t had my dog for very long – about 4 months. He was a shelter dog, overweight, and about 8 years old. Sweet nature does not adequately sum up his wonderful personality. My friend said something that spurred the old brain into thinking. She said, “Your dog is just wonderful. He is so present.”
HE IS SO PRESENT. This is what made me stop and think. Yes, Max is present. He looks at you with those big brown eyes and you know he just wants to be loved. Or eat. Or go out. Or go for a walk. His body language and those eyes speak volumes. Gently. Not rushed (unless of course I’ve ignored him and he really has no water or needs to pee). But most of the time he is just laid back – present with me, present for me, present in this moment. Max does not seem to worry about what happened yesterday. I wonder if he even ever thinks about it. Max does not seem to worry about what will happen tomorrow. No, Max is just present in the NOW.
Jesus was recorded as saying, “Don’t worry about your life – what you will eat or drink or wear….and don’t worry about tomorrow….don’t pile up more stuff here on earth but work to build kingdom stuff as you treat others as you want to be treated….love everyone, especially your enemies…” (my paraphrase) I will go out on a limb here and suggest that he probably told folks to stop being a slave to their past and to move forward as they learned from their mistakes.
I’ve never seen my old dog so worried about his future that he used all his energy to save stuff or get ahead. I’ve never known him to continue to try to play with my cat, after the cat let him know that he did not want to play. I’m pretty sure Max is not enslaved to his past – when he was abandoned and maybe neglected and hungry. He appears to be very happy with his life in the now. What I cannot be sure of is if he could or does love his enemies. But I can’t be sure of that with people either most of the time.
My point here is that perhaps we can take lessons from our four-legged friends. Perhaps we can, by watching them, learn to be present in the NOW. I wish Jesus had told just one story about a dog or a cat. Maybe he did. After all, he seemed to be telling his friends that being present in the NOW was important – see a need, meet it; hungry person, feed them; hopeless, offer hope. NOW. Not later. Not in a minute. Not when you have time. NOW.
I believe if we practice more NOWness, lives (including our own) would be transformed in ways that would make the world a much better place to live and love. I guess Jesus and Max are on to something.