I started writing these faith columns in the fall of 2009. A friend had purchased a few local newspapers and wanted a free faith column he could provide to his readers. The distribution has grown to include newspapers in more than a dozen states. It has received over 140,000 views online including more than 7,500 in Russia. Its reach has exceeded anything I ever imagined.
About the time I started writing the column, my wife and I adopted a tri-color Pembroke Corgi that we named Buddy. We found him at Corgi rescue. He was picked up by animal control on the streets of Fort Worth, skinny and sick. How a dog like Buddy could be lost for that long was a mystery to me until he told me his story. I wrote it down just the way he told it to me and published it as a children’s book, Buddy the Floppy Ear Corgi.
I wrote my first column about Buddy on October 29, 2009. Each year I have sought to write at least one column about Buddy and what he is teaching me. We have traveled many places together: Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Colorado and places in between. We have walked hundreds of miles together. But Buddy is growing old. His muzzle is gray. He can’t make long walks any more. He limps on his right front leg after a half-mile or so. I think it is arthritis.
Once we left him with our daughter who lived 2 miles from our house. He escaped their backyard and tied up traffic on a busy intersection trying to make his way home. I was on the road in Nebraska when I got the call from a stranger who rescued him from the frantic drivers who were trying to avoid hitting him.
When we went fishing Buddy sat in the front of my flat bottom boat, sniffing the wind, trying to locate the fish by smell. He only fell in once. We discovered Corgi’s can’t swim. Fortunately I was able to fish him out.
Several times he went with me to sit by the graveside of my college roommate who was buried in Farmersville, Texas in 1999. Afterward we would go for long walks in the open fields where he could run free, leaping through the long grass (as much as Corgi’s can leap).
Buddy doesn’t do any work. He never has. He cannot open doors, cannot carry anything or hold anything with his paws (beyond a bone or a chew toy). He isn’t Buck like Call of the Wild. He can’t pull a sled. But he has worked his way into our hearts just by being there, jumping in my lap when I was sad, jumping between us on the couch to make us glad, following me from room to room, introducing me to strangers who want to pet him, playing with my grandchildren.
We love Buddy, not for what he can do for us, but just because he “is.”
Maybe that is the way God looks at me. I can’t do anything for God. He doesn’t really need me, but He loves me just the same, just because He made me; just because He is and I am. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us” (1 John 1:10). God has declared His love for me, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).