Ten years ago I adopted a dog. Those who are familiar with this column are familiar with Buddy, our tri-color Pembroke Corgi. He was at least one when I adopted him, so he is at least 11 now. We are both aging. He is getting gray around the muzzle and limps if we walk more than a mile. He still likes to give chase to rabbits and squirrels, short bursts of energy that remind him of his youth.
When we found Buddy at a Corgi rescue, he had been picked up off the streets of Fort Worth, Texas. He was skinny and sick. They called him, “Tex.” But he quickly informed us that his real name was “Buddy.” In fact he has a children’s book, Buddy the Floppy Ear Corgi that tells his whole story, not just about his name, but how he was lost, picked up by the “dog police” and rescued. I wrote it “just the way he told it to me.” It has been translated into French and Romanian.
We had a number of dogs and cats that helped us raise our kids. But once they left home, I discovered I wanted my own dog. Buddy showed up, and, for the last decade he has continued to teach me lessons. Those lessons include trust, patience and perseverance.
Lately he has been teaching me lessons about acceptance. In an era when humans are increasingly aware of their differences in race, language, culture and national origin, Buddy ignores all of those differences. He just sees people.
I took him for a walk through the park. An entire group of teenagers interrupted their volleyball game and rushed over to greet Buddy. They surrounded him, laughing and smiling as they stroked his Corgi coat. We went to Estes Park, Colorado. Four times in the space of two blocks, teens, children and adults asked to pet him. We passed a homeless person. Buddy stopped and waited until a smile spread across the person’s face as they patted his head.
It doesn’t matter to Buddy. He just grins his Corgi grin, and accepts them all. Young, old, white, brown, black, homeless, handicapped, straight or gay. He doesn’t care. It is a lesson humans have to work at. We tend to look for people like ourselves and suspect those who differ.
Like the rest of us, the disciple Peter grew up with his own prejudices. He was a fisherman and a Jew from Capernaum. After he left his nets to follow Jesus he was constantly having his prejudices challenged. He followed Jesus through Samaria, a region he had been taught to avoid as a devout Jew. He watched him visit with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well near Sychar. He saw him touch and heal the lepers, the blind, the lame and beggars. Peter watched as he raised the daughter of a Roman Centurion to life.
It took a miraculous vision and a visit to a Roman’s home in Ceasarea for Peter to finally understand the lessons Jesus sought to teach him along the way. Peter concluded, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him” (Acts 10:34-35).
Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. For more information visit www.tinsleycenter.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.