Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Just Talk - or - The Communication of Relationship

Ellie at her window

 Our beagle Ellie and I have something in common.  We are both slow to wake up in the morning.  This is a stark contrast to Glen, who wakes up like a piece of toast being ejected from the toaster.  He is bright-eyed, cheerful and ready to go from the beginning.  Ellie and I are not.  We are slow and sleepy for a while.  It is best to give me a cup of coffee and leave me alone for thirty minutes or so in the morning.

It has been my habit of late to wake up and go to our Living Room to really wake up.  Glen is already there, sitting at his desk writing. I sit in a chair across from a long window so Ellie and I can both look out.  She keeps her eye out for cats, strollers, runners and masked marauders.  I like to look at the grass and the sky and her.

It doesn't take long for her to come to my chair and ask to sit in it with me.  Yes, in her own way, she does ask for permission before jumping up.  Once in the chair, she lays her head across my lap and effectively paralyzes me.  It is a known fact of the universe that if your beagle is in your lap you cannot move. I don't want to move.  I want to rub her back, stroke her velvety ears and just love on her.  Slowly, we both begin to wake up and as I wake up, I talk to her.

I talk to Ellie all the time.  While she knows a good many words, and also knows a good bit of sign language (dogs can learn signs before they learn words, so sign language is a great tool for training) I realize she doesn't understand half the words  I speak to her.  But she knows my tone.  She knows when I am praising her and when I am correcting her and when I am just loving on her.  I know she understands when I am displeased with something she has done because she will come to me and very apologetically rub her face against me.

When we walk, I try to communicate with her through the leash.  A very gentle tap on it lets her know there is not enough slack in the leash. Moving my end of the leash to the right or left lets her know which side of the walkway is hers.  She communicates with me too.  She snuffles and snorts when she finds a really good smell, and I give her time to investigate and enjoy it.  

Ellie and I have a mutually enjoyable relationship.  We communicate.  Do we sit down over a cup of coffee and discuss the day as Glen and I do?  Of course not. (Although she does ask for a drop- or more if she can get it- of coffee each day, and would drink the whole cup if I were careless enough to leave her access to it.  She is, of course, a Davis.)  We communicate none the less.  There are times I can just give her a certain look and she knows what I want.  There are times, too, she will give me a look, perhaps accentuated with a slight whine, and I know what she needs as well.  While there is no give and take of verbiage, there is most definitely communication.  I enjoy it and I know Ellie enjoys it, too.

This reminds me of communication with our Lord.  Sometimes I think we just make prayer too difficult.  We impose rules upon it that I'm not sure the Lord intended.  Sometimes I think I would pray more effectively if I just talked to the Lord, not unlike how I talk to Ellie.  Like Ellie, He understands me even if I don't use words, He knows my heart.  Which is precisely why I don't need a special set of words or phrases when I pray.   I enter into communication with Him not to disclose something to Him that He doesn't already know, but to continue the communication of relationship.  

It's okay to just talk to the Lord.  By that I don't mean to infer we should be flippant or disrespectful in prayer, we are after all, entering "the throne of Grace" (Hebrews 4:16).  I wouldn't go to Windsor Castle and not be respectful to the Queen of England, I am certainly not going to be disrespectful to the "King of Glory" (Psalm 24:7.)
But let us think of prayer as a frequent and loving communication between our Lord and His child.  A flow of our hearts to His heart.  And like my sweet Ellie, He will communicate with us as well by His Spirit and His Word.  We will enjoy it and He will enjoy it as well.

"O my dove, that are in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let Me see thy countenance, let Me hear thy voice; 
for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely."  
Song of Solomon 2:14

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