Thursday, January 14, 2010

False Expectations

Before I tell you about the cow and the barn, let me begin by talking about Mocha Barney, my newest dog. I though she was adorable—half mini schnauzer, half mini dachshund. Ergo, a Schnoxie. The owner refused to sell. But since she was in a store I frequented, I always asked how her dog was. One day unexpectedly she said, “Would you like to adopt her?”

We met at a special pickup place, and Mochabar (one of Mocha Barney’s nicknames) seemed anxious but eventually, willingly left with me. I sensed a lump on her chest, so we went straight to Happy Hayop (our vet) thinking it was cancer. The doctor checked Mochabar’s health book, examined Mocha and said the lump was a rib that likely injured when she was a pup and self resolved. Mocha Barney also had 2 different colored eyes but she was not blind. Her next shot, the doctor added, was due within a month.

Mocha’s hair was more gritty than the first time I saw her in the pet shop. Her owner gave her to me clean and free of fleas, with injections up to date. But her stool was wet and plentiful on her first day at our home. After a few days of dog food (and probably, getting over her stress of being in a new home) her stool became odorless and dry; and her hair improved. But we discovered that she had the loudest bark of my 3 dogs (two of them askals) even though she was just a tiny puppy--and she barked frequently. The maids could not sleep, and our neighbors (who have about 9 cats) and my husband and I would suddenly wake up early in the morning if Mocha spotted one of the cats on top of our fence. When I was sick Mocha barked unrelentingly under my window, making me feel worse.

She would bark so loud that all four of her feet would go up in the air at once. Or she would lean on the grills of the gate, head stuck out and bark so loud her two little hind feet went up simultaneously. She barked whenever she heard a dog bark in the neighborhood – and every house in our street except two have dogs. Mocha seemed to start “barking conversations” on our street which I’m sure other neighbors didn’t like, too. Who would think so much noise could arise from such a little dog?

Clearly, this was not my expectation. Okay, cute-check. Tiny-check. Tiny poo-X (is it because she is long that there is more poo?) Tiny pee-check. Can become “invisible” like the furniture when I want her to be-X. Quiet-XXX (the latter two would be “checked” when she’s with me, but when we would walk at the park, all she needed was to hear a dog bark in the distance, and even if I could not see the dog from afar, she would turn in its general direction and bark relentlessly). That’s 50% of my expectations. But she is so lovely to have around when I am working, that I would still rate her 150% just for being my chill pill when I am working.

The Cow in the Barn

Now we have the cow in the barn witnessing a human birth, and a child wrapped in rags and placed in the cow’s eating plate (manger) for his crib. Not much expectation there. No sign of promise of a future for this family, camped with their baby among the animals. And yet an angel announced the baby would save the world. The Shepherds heard and came. A strange man named Simeon recognized the baby as the son of God. So did the prophetess Anna. (Luke chapter 2)

My expectations of Mocha Barney were quite different. I wanted my dog to be ideal both physically and emotionally. This is simply not happening. But Mocha is a really cute mutt, and she may have quite a character, but at the same time she is more interesting, perhaps precisely because she is not what I had expected.

Jesus’ parents took in all that stuff about their son saving the world, but they could not imagine how it would happen, and how much Jesus would accomplish for us. Don’t make the mistake I made with Mocha Barney. Don’t let your expectations, gauged by what you see, limit what God can do in your life. He can do great things, greater still if you just pray, commit your life, let him take charge of all details. He loved you enough to be born in a cow house and to sleep in a cow’s plate. He died because he wanted you to have the best. So keep the faith. Think big. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” If He said it, it’s because he meant it. He lived and died by it, too.

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