My birthday was last weekend, and I had the unusual luxury of a wide open, obligations-free weekend to savor. I decided to treat myself by sleeping in late on Saturday…which was only possible in theory, as we have a 3-month-old puppy named Tucker who has proven time and time again that he has hardly any bladder control whatsoever.
At about 9:00 am, I heard the doorbell ring. We live on the third floor of an apartment complex, so we hardly ever get any souls brave enough to climb three stories of flaky wooden steps to visit us on a whim. My husband opened the door to find the UPS man standing on the stoop with a package.
To my delight, I found that this package was a birthday gift from my brother, who’s still out in college in Southern California. The last time I was out there hanging out with him, he took me to a great cupcake café—which was the highlight of my week there. Remembering my fondness for the cupcakes, he overnighted me a box of fresh cupcakes to enjoy on my birthday weekend. And, thoughtfully, he included two tiny dog cupcakes for Bonzer and Tucker.
I carefully unwrapped the tiny frosted cupcakes and set them on a silver-edged platter for the dogs to enjoy. And that’s when the chaos started.
Bonzer, the older dog, is a picky eater. He refuses to even lick anything until he has thoroughly sniffed and examined it. Not so with Tucker. Tucker bites down and swallows things before he even has time to decide if he likes it or not.
Tucker launched on the plate, grabbed a cupcake, and retreated under the couch. Bonzer delicately picked at the edge of the frosting with his teeth, and in watching him I realized I had forgotten to take the paper wrapper off of the cupcake. Since I knew I had about half a second before Tucker wolfed his down, I reached under the couch to grab the cupcake from Tucker.
Tucker saw me coming and braced himself against the furthest corner of the couch. That should’ve been my first clue. He then shoved the entire cupcake in his mouth in a desperate attempt to swallow it whole—before I could steal his prize–and promptly started choking. I frantically shoved my fingers inside his mouth to try to pry the cupcake from his little teeth.
Sensing that I was about to take his food, he chomped down on my thumb with all his might. I yelped and pulled my fingers out, to see two bloody, gaping wounds (ok, they were really small punctures) in my thumb. I angrily tried again—this time with my left hand—but Tucker had taken advantage of that split-second and had already swallowed the cupcake.
I sat back, a bag of mixed emotions—one part marveling that he could eat that quickly and not die trying to swallow something arguably bigger than his brain, the other part angrier than I’ve ever been at this ungrateful puppy.
How could Tucker not realize that I was just trying to help him? All I’ve ever done for him has been out of total love….the hours and hours of walks, patiently standing out in the pouring rain while he relieves himself….trips to get fresh kiddie cups of ice cream for him to savor….hours of cuddling him, brushing his teeth, trimming his toenails, giving him treats, taking him on car rides….how could he be so ungrateful to someone who has only treated him with love?
It didn’t hit me for a few days, but when it did, it hit me like a ton of bricks:
What has my attitude towards God been? I’ve been no different than Tucker.
I too have been totally wrapped up in myself, ignoring the many gifts that God has given me. I’ve taken His love for granted, selfishly gobbling it out of His very hand and cramming it down my own throat without as much as a “thank you” to the One who offered it to me in the first place. In frustrating and challenging times, I haven’t always trusted that God will carry me through because of His unfailing love. I haven’t seen that everything God does for me is out of tender concern and unconditional love.
Thank goodness for that everlasting, unlimited forgiveness He offers me.
Ephesians 1:7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…”
Who knew that a profound truth about humankind lay hidden in the story of a vicious, saber-tooth puppy?