Learning from the Animals
Leah has been working as a vet for the past three years. University Vet School, whilst invaluable, must be a million miles away from the reality of handling needy animals and their anxious, wallet restrained owners, week in and week out. No doubt Leah has learnt a lot.
So I asked her: ‘What have you learnt from the animals?’ I was expecting something like ‘Their remarkable tolerance to pain’, or ‘That they always appear hopeful, even when very sick’, or some such thing. Her actual answer surprised me with its simplicity. What had Leah learnt? ‘Their dependence’.
What! How can you learn to be dependent – anyone can do that? And who wants to be dependent? Most people I know want to be independent. Indeed, our health system is structured around that very notion – independent living.
Leah clarified. ‘Our pets are totally dependent on us to feed them, house them, and take care of their needs. Yet in their dependence they find joy. They respond to us, their owners and carers, with unconditional love. I’ve learnt that this is what I should be like in my relationship with God’.
Spot on, Leah. We like to think we’re independent, that we can get on with our lives any way we choose, that we’re strong, capable, confident, and in charge. But only a moments reflection reveals what rot such thinking is. We are dependent. Everything we have and are comes from God. We need him every hour. Will we respond to God with resentment and rejection, or with joy and unconditional love?