God has and does uses dogs in mysterious ways. Wanting my own spiritual father that I can pester and blame for answers and then point to when things don’t go my way, I have prayed fairly consistently (at least measured in terms of how I pray) for a spiritual director. I have yet to be endowed with or trusted with my very own elder(ess). I attribute this to an outworking of God’s grace as He knows that I am not anywhere near the point that such a person would be of true help (I understand that I am still on the interstate, have not gotten off that superhighway onto the much narrower and arduous trail that calls for such inner exertion).
However, He has condescendingly blessed me with not one but two (two I supposed because of my neediness) spiritual guides of the four-legged terrier or honestly described, terrorist variety, Betsy and Layla. For years I perceived only that their purpose was to make me smile and feel good about myself. Good because it is I who am their master, their commander, the overarching superior one.
Now for anyone who has ever been subjected to a dog with a terrorist mentality you will immediately know that I was in an advanced state of denial to believe that I was the superior one. So little by little, bit by bit they have, in tandem, drugged me through the briar patch until I was scruffier than they, certainly to the point that I look up to a seven inch dog now rather down. They have proven to me the truth of what drill instructor, Sgt. Jones said of me over fifty years ago, “You are nothing but a mutilated piece of dog ##!$.” I think he probably meant to say excrement.
Least, you think of me as one who complains, I assure you not. Far more soothing lessons I have also learned (or to use the correct verb tense ‘am learning’). I just stopped typing and reached under my chair to be reassured that they are right there, now I know that with less physical effort I can be reassured that He is right there. I can call and they will come (most usually), I can look into my heart and He is already there (most usually.)
I know and shamefully, at times, take for granted that when I am negligent in giving them the attention they want they will immediately forgive me when I give them that attention. If I am too dismissive of their presence and their instructions, they will strike me with a paw, scratch my leg or even voice their command.
You get the gist of how they are training me and how they in turn are being used by God as my tutors.
All I can say is get your own mine have their work cut out for a long time to come.