Ahh, summer. Warm sunshine, balmy breezes, and – don’t forget – dog fur. Lots and lots of dog fur.
All you canine loving compatriots know what I’m talking about, but if you’ve never experienced this first hand, allow me to elaborate. You see, there is the “springtime shed,” when our household canines slip out of their winter coats and take on their sleek, summer appearance. Then just about the time we think they are done, they explode into their “summertime pouf.”
Unlike the springtime shed, the summertime pouf serves no real purpose except to periodically launch puff balls into the air and onto recently vacuumed surfaces. It tends to be limited to breeds with a good, thick undercoat, and I am convinced it is part of God’s design to commiserate with those of us who suffer from endless weeks of humidity-induced bad hair days. A good shake on a bad pouf day can fill the air with a cloud of fur balls that float for miles. At least my hair doesn’t do that.
The other day I took my furry friend outside for some de-poufing. A brush may be used periodically during a de-poufing treatment, but the bulk of the work comes down to plucking the poufs directly out of the coat. It’s a bit like the magician pulling a string of handkerchiefs from his sleeve. I plucked a pouf, and instead of the pouf being gone there was more pouf to pull. And then more. And then more. And then…
I am convinced I could stand on my back porch and de-pouf my dog for eight hours straight, and there would still be more pouf to pull. I don’t know how that’s possible, but somehow it is. Like the widow’s jar of oil that never runs out, my dog has a never ending pouf-ball.
Eventually there will be a short autumn shed in preparation for winter. The visible poufballs will slide back into the undercoat and lie dormant all winter, but they will still be there. They will always still be there.
They are a beautiful analogy, these poufballs, for the only thing that is truly never ending in our lives. I’m talking about the presence of God’s love.
There are times when God’s love manifests in physical blessings that can be seen and felt in such abundance it’s as though we’ve grabbed a tiny pouf and more tumble out behind. We pull and we pull and there are the good times, the happy time, the fun times. They are the dog days of summer.
There are other seasons where it is not so easy. Like a dog holding onto her winter coat, we don’t find a single joyful pouf to grab onto. We look, and we do not see them. But they are still there, beneath the surface. Keeping us warm, even when we don’t notice.
God’s love never fails. Never, never, never.
That’s a pouf you can hold onto.
Janet Beagle, Ph.D. serves as director of graduate programs for Purdue University’s College of Engineering and is a writer, a Bible study teacher, and a student of God’s word. In her spare time, she likes to eat other people’s cooking and hike with her dog, Marly. Read more of Janet’s Christian reflections at www.mustardpatch.org.