Dog Days

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- Adam Lorenz

Meet Fenway. 

A little over a week ago I moved from long time dog lover to dog owner as I adopted Fenway from a friend. Having grown up with dogs and living with housemates who are dog owners themselves, I thought I fully understood what this would expose in myself. 

I was wrong.

Fenway has spent most of her life with an extremely loving family, providing her consistency, routine and continual presence that her first home deeply lacked. I had resolved that by choosing to welcome her into my life, I would not allow her to experience anything less. 

Immediately I set out to structure my days to step into this well. 

And with the next breath, I couldn’t help but ask myself, ‘Why is it that I can recognize the need for routine, consistency and presence as vital for Fenway but not myself?’

ROUTINE

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Fenway wakes up at 5:30am and to say that I am not a morning person would be an understatement. I have discovered I can quiet her and wait until closer to my usual wake-up time, though it is those days where things seem to be off for her. Her rhythm and need to be let out all seem to shift – something is just not right. This also happens when my schedule has caused me to change when she might eat or go for her multiple walks during the day. 

Fenway’s routines have caused me to grow much more conscious of my own routines. Before her, my mornings often began one of two ways: either rushed or slow with no way of telling which it would be on any given day. Neither of these allowed me to step into my day well –every day felt slightly off. Now with a set wake-up time, I have the opportunity to set the stage for the day well – to get my mind right – to center myself through prayer and writing before the pressures of the day set in. 

CONSISTENCY

Consistency for Fenway is more than the routines - for her, consistency also includes the way I interact with her. More than just going for walks, it is how we walk when we do go. Is she always on my heel or is pulling me along and stopping at her leisure? The more consistent I am in that, the more consistent her response is.

Consistency for myself is deeply connected with how I interact with those around me. More often than not I am guilty of assuming how someone will respond long before I interact with them. This also is true of my interaction with God. I often don’t expect much. 

How could a posture of consistency change by continually expectating that individuals, groups and the Divine will show up, engage? What if I expect others to achieve rather than fail?

BEING PRESENT

As I sit and write this, Fenway has walked and placed her head on my leg a number of times, often seeking out my hand. Fenway longs for me to engage, to be there with her and to not be lost in whatever digital screen might be pulling for my attention at that moment. 

I love Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and will probably love any social media that comes after that. It sucks me in and plays into my fears that I might miss out on something. It also inflate my ego just enough to believe that another picture of a ceiling with the right filter is worth people’s time. 

Jesus invites us into life now, not just later, continually reminding us and demanding that we be here, now. It is in those moments when we encounter the life He speaks of – through feeling the wind, hearing the birds and the warmth of relationship with another. 

Each day Fenway challenges me to step more into routine, consistency and presence for her sake but also my own. The more I do these things, I discover how much more I am stepping into the person He created me to be.

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Adam Lorenz is a rider, a thinker and a lifer. Currently he is pursuing his Master of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary and is a pastoral resident at Mars Hill Bible Church working with high school students in Grandville, Michigan. He writes at www.adamlorenz.net and follow his daily thoughts on Twitter at @adamlorenz.