What Others Say

Thank you for writing the article in Saturday's edition of New Castle News. It was very good and very interesting. You bring it all to light, making everything very simple and easy to understand. - Kathy L. - New Castle, Pennsylvania

Monday, March 11, 2013

Learning from Buddy: Persistence

Every year I write at least one column about my dog, Buddy. We adopted Buddy four years ago after he was found starving on the streets of Fort Worth.  I wrote his story for my grandkids, “just the way he told it to me”: how Barney the Blood Hound helped him survive on the streets until they were picked up by the dog police. I named the story, Buddy the Floppy Ear Corgi because his left ear flopped. His ear doesn’t flop anymore.  Maybe he outgrew it. Maybe it flopped because he was puny and sick. Both ears now perk straight up like a respectable corgi. I kind of miss the flop.

We left Buddy last summer in Montana with our grandkids while we spent the summer in Nuremberg, Germany.  When we returned, he was in Wyoming, where our kids moved while we were away.  I think he liked the open spaces of Montana and Wyoming.  He even joined the rodeo and tried his hand (or paw) at chasing bulls.  After all, corgis were bred as herd dogs. I used to think he chased squirrels in an attempt to catch them, but I finally figured out he was just herding them around the yard.

Lately, he is teaching me persistence. “Persistence” isn’t a word we use much.  But we all know what it means: never quitting, never giving up and never becoming discouraged. Buddy doesn’t use words, at least not human words, but he communicates. He communicates most by “persistence.”  If he wants to go outside, he goes over the door and sits there looking out the glass pane.  He never moves.  He just sits there until I notice and obligingly open the door and let him out.  He does the same thing about coming back inside. If I am eating he locks his eyes on the object and stares, again refusing to move.  I can scold him, tell him he isn’t getting anything from me, act as callous and cold as possible, but it doesn’t faze him. He just sits there staring with those big brown corgi eyes until finally I give in. He wins his arguments with persistence.

I need to learn more of that. We humans are always looking for short cuts to get what we want.  We learn this at a very early age, usually within two years.  We try tantrums, tears, weeping and wailing. We get angry and argue.  But it seldom achieves our goals.  We need to learn from Buddy.  Persistence and peaceful perseverance is almost irresistible.

This must have been what Jesus meant when he taught us how to pray. Jesus said, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’  I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.  So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.” (Luke 11:5-10).

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