This is Zoey, our grand daughter. Sitting very, VERY closely beside her is our dog, Heidi. Heidi is a big 4-year old Weimaraner. She came into our home as a puppy with a whole lot of resistance from me. I’m not an animal person. I’m not a dog person. I think part of the reason for this is while growing up I was never attached to any of our pets. We had dogs and a couple cats but they were kept outside, you know, where God intended. But after years of begging from the grand kids and silent guilt-trip glances from my husband, Doug, I gave in…reluctantly. But if we were going to have a dog, I was going to do my research. I certainly didn’t want a dog that needed to be groomed more than I do. More specifically, I didn’t want a dog that needed any grooming at all. Not a lot of shedding. Kid friendly, of course. Easily housebroken. Not yappy. Oh yes ma’am, I had a list of requirements. I had a list of requirements like most girls have for their future husband. Except pertaining to a dog, of course. (But looking at that list, those requirements are interchangeable for a dog or a husband.) With the boxes checked, research complete, we landed on a little girl Weimaraner.
Being new dog parents, we did what any intelligent people would do. We took our brand new puppy camping after having her for only a few days. I believe this is somewhat equivalent of taking a newborn baby to the beach – minus the diapers – a lot of work! The trip wasn’t a total loss, however, but it rained. And it rained. And it was muddy. And it rained. And did I mention WE HAD A PUPPY? Aiden and Zoey, were 8 and 4 years old, so needless to say the camping trip involved a lot of, “Take your shoes off outside!” and “Don’t step in that!” Without a doubt, our puppy had more baths than any normal puppy should have. My nose was very sensitive to the wet dog smell we non-dog people tend to have.
Fast forward to the present. I’m still not a dog lover or any kind of animal lover, but I’m mad about Heidi, and Heidi is mad about her family. I was sitting by the pool several evenings ago when Zoey sat down in front of me. Shortly after, Heidi, who has ZERO concept of personal space, sat down beside Zoey. Zoey is her pick, her favorite. When I looked at the two of them sitting so closely I began to think about friendship, my friendships.
I don’t want to hyper-spiritualize the subject, but I’m so grateful for the friends God placed in my life. Tonya, my best friend for over 40 years, and I have so many memories growing up together; growing up as kids and growing up as wives, tending to aging parents and losing our fathers. Our families, our church, our faith all interwoven over a lifetime. I don’t have any memories before Tonya. A friend like her is rare. Jennifer (aka, Booty) and I met when she dated my brother over a decade ago. I clearly didn’t handle the breakup well, so we remain BFF’s. We’re the most alike in that we have a very similar “it’s fine, I’m fine, it’s not that big-a-deal” demeanor. She speaks my love language…sarcasm. She’s also one of my biggest prayer warriors. Kathy, who was my pre-school teacher at church, continued teaching me in Sunday School as I got older. That teaching turned into mentoring long before the term was trendy. She didn’t know she was mentoring me and I didn’t know I was being mentored. But here we are, many years later, friends. There’s no one else I’d rather study Scripture and talk with about Jesus.
I think of Heidi, and how unlikely it seems that I would become so delighted by a pet. Likewise, I can name a number of friendships that on paper seem highly unlikely. But God, in His wisdom and in His love, gives us these special friendships that we wouldn’t pick out on our own. I’m continually in awe of how lavishly He pours out His love in unlikely ways. His love for us is ridiculous. And I’m so thankful.