Let me introduce you to Chester, my Maltese mutt. Conceived for profit in a puppy mill. Peddled from the trunk of a car at Walmart. Eventually, spotted by me on craigslist.
Used dog for sale. Big brown eyes. 12 pounds of feel good. His silky, caramel hair begs to be stroked. A zen experience only explained only by poetry. He makes the happy center of my brain light up like a Christmas tree.
It was the end of a very long day and I was done. Nicely browned and fork tender. Plopped down in the recliner and turned on a much anticipated recording of The Voice.
Chester came in through his doggie door, bringing in all kinds of mud. There were clumps on the floor and tracks on the carpet. Curious, I picked up the closest nugget and it felt very soft. Wanting to verify the composition, up it went for a sniff.
Due to the asymmetrical nature of the little chunk, in my haste I accidentally grazed my nose. It wasn’t mud. My eyes widened and pulse accelerated as I realized there’s dog poo on my face. I couldn’t wash it off fast enough. (You know how you keep smelling something after its gone?)
I picked up Chester and to my horror, he’s got a a rear end smeared with it. Not just a little bit either. Let me tell you the emission report was bad. Cleaning multiple applications of excreta was not in my script for the night.
Sigh. I put Chester in the sink and went to work. Its coated, caked, and clotted. Not a quick rinse job. Like a good chef, I had to get my hands in the meatloaf. The last foul cluster proved to be tenacious, probably from a previous exodus. Neither water nor shampoo made it budge.
In a light bulb moment, my eyes darted to the dish drainer where, yes, there was a pair of scissors. In a split second I decided to go for it. Thank God he didn’t jerk or there would be a different, more macabre story to tell.
Then I addressed the carpet and eventually sat down to watch my recording. Chester jumped in my lap and offered me his neck to scratch, then his back, and then his tummy.
As we lifted into transcendental bliss I realized we’re a lot alike. Lots of poo on me, too, spiritually speaking. Cleaning myself is impossible. Chester’s usual licking routine of tidying up those awkward places was completely ineffectual. There are many places I can’t reach as well.
What about all those embarrassing, hurtful, and stupid things I’ve done? God brings in the hazmat. Even now he reaches into my mind and finds the whack-ness, giving me a check up from the neck up.
Some days I feel like I’m covered with poo, but it’s not true. I’m a member of the clean slate club. Stupid fresh every day.
Chester and I don’t have a tit for tat relationship, that maintains a balance of giving and receiving. Although the gross factor nearly broke the gauge, I didn’t mind. I love him. His worth to me is not reduced by the sacrifice of my evening, in fact, it verifies it.
God knows I’m weak, and given the opportunity and motive, am capable of unthinkable behaviors. Still he got his hands in my meatloaf. Forgiving me was more than inconvenience, more than a delayed Voice replay.
It cost him his life and it wasn’t pretty.
I don’t want to see Chester filthy and uncomfortable, helpless to clean himself up. For as many times as he needs, I’ll do it again and again. And God is happy to clean me up. No wagging finger, no sassy neck-roll. He does it for me daily with a smile on his face: Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
I got my Big Bath 40 years ago. Jesus did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. He continually scrubs those hard to reach places. Does he mind? Not at all. I’m in that sink on a regular basis. Then we cuddle up in the recliner and it’s all good.
Acapella cover of “I Don’t Mind” by a band called Joseph, courtesy of Morgan Minsk, Gracie Aho, Will Pike, and Anselm Beach.
Marcia Lamb for posting the video that started it all.
Manyesha Batist for her encouragement.
These talented singers.
Garrett Campagna for his technogenerousity.
Jesus for not minding.
carpe those diems