While our upstairs neighbors have been away, we’ve had the privilege of watching Charlie. (She’s Doug’s sweet dog).  Doug himself, is the type of guy that anyone would be thrilled to have for a neighbor (and we are)!  He’s shoveled the snow off our steps, and brings whatever mail that arrives for us, right to our door. (We live in a basement suite, so we share the same mailbox.) He also so kindly and generously, brings us food. He’s a fisherman, and the fishes have been multiplying!  We’ve never asked him to do these things (that’s just the type of guy that he is), and it’s no wonder he has become a real part of our family. (What’s not to like)!?

Our sweet canine neighbor Charlie is such a pleasure as well.  She’s a Kelpie (which is an Australian sheep dog). Originally this breed of dog was bred to herd sheep and cattle.  They are very bright, and are a hard working energetic breed (said to be quick eyed and fast learners as well). Charlie is a beautiful mid sized dog, with an easy going, and well mannered disposition.  This makes her no trouble at all to care for, and to shower with lots of love. It’s definitely a pleasure to visit with a neighbor like that!

When we come up the steps in the morning, she’s almost always right there before we even reach the top step, and she happily greets us as we open the door.  She loves to play ball (which we’ve been doing with her indoors as the weather has been on the chilly side.  Also, it’s often too dark when we do make it upstairs to spend that time with her).  Nearly every time though, as we toss the ball, she eventually takes off with it, right out the dog door! She definitely wants us to spend some time outdoors with her, but neither Andrew nor I are too keen on the idea, in the black of night.  Therefore, we follow her out, retrieve the ball and beckon her back in.

One night after playing with her, Andrew decided to get down on the floor beside our furry friend.  She snuggled her head into his arm, and gave him some licks.  As I spoke to her,  she’d cock her head to one side and listen, trying to make out what I was saying to her.  That’s when I made the mistake of saying to Andrew, “We should take her out tomorrow,” Well apparently “out” is a word she understands.  Her eyes lit up, and she quickly got to her feet. Then she ran towards the kitchen, looking back at us to see if we were coming. When we didn’t follow, she came back into the room, leaping as she did so.  She then gave us one quick bark, standing there as if to say, “Out? You said out. Let’s go!” Clearly, this sweet girl wanted to be out, and we couldn’t blame her. (She had spent much of the day cooped up and alone). She just wanted to stretch her legs (frolic and play), out where the air was fresh and cool, and there was plenty of wide open space.

Suddenly, she had some bounce in her step at the thought of this happening.  It was clear to see–and both Andrew and I felt sorry that the word had even been mentioned.  However, it was getting late, and “out” would have to wait until tomorrow. The following day (when we did have the opportunity to put a leash on her) as we opened the door wide, she was eager to get a move on.

In Christ we gain that freedom too, though some may view it as restrictions, and rules to be followed.  Nothing could be further from the truth. In Christ we gain so much more than we ever had from the start, and anything in us that needs to go, is simply for the best. One of my absolute favorite verses illustrates this freedom so beautifully, and gleefully.  I understand this joy first hand myself, and can attest to its truth. I also know that there is much more frolicking to be had and enjoyed in the days to come, as we draw closer to Jesus. There is joy in getting out and walking with the Lord.

“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in it’s rays. And you will go out and frolic like calves released from their stalls.”

–Malachi 4:2



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