Poor Sugar. My little dog is getting old. She’s still spunky, still knows me and most of the members of our family, but when we were told she was nearly blind and suffered from what can best be described as doggy dementia, none of us were surprised. After all, what else can you call it when a dog stares for hours on end at the mailbox? Or when your fur baby howls at the wall? Or when she begins confusing the wide expanse of outdoor restroom area for your bed?
Getting old is tough.
This past week she did something I’ve never seen before. I heard her anxiously lapping up water from her bowl in the laundry room. This went on for one minute. Two. When it became apparent she was going to pop like a water balloon, I walked in and stopped.
Her water dish was completely dry. My little dog was absently lapping up air.
I watched her for another minute, just to make sure I was seeing things correctly. Air? Really? She didn’t seem to notice her thirst wasn’t being quenched.
Sighing, I grabbed the water bowl and rubbed her ears. “There, there, Sugar Booger. Let me get you some water. Silly dog. You’ll never be satisfied until you let me help you.”
When I lowered the full bowl back under her nose, she never missed a beat. She wagged her tail, lowered her head and greedily licked up the water I’d provided.
And, of course, it only took seconds to satisfy her dry throat the second time, instead of endless minutes engaged in empty activity that would never satisfy.
We are no different than Sugar sometimes. We blindly lap up air, looking for the answer to our thirst in things that will never satisfy—praise, relationships, our children, busyness, achievements, degrees, money, food, religion, alcohol—even philanthropic activities and charitable giving, all things designed to make us feel like we’re close to God, but actually keep us numbed from connecting to Him.
Just like my elderly dog, we let ourselves die on the abundance of air, the nothingness we consume, never realizing God is ready to give us what truly gives life: forgiveness, peace, hope, a future, and the beauty of knowing Him.
The bowl is full and waiting. Why should we lap up air when the refreshment that heals the cracked desert of our hearts has already been laid before us?