Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013
in Relational, Social, TreeHouse, Values
Our recent trip to California was amazing. The weather was beautiful – not the ten inches of snow beautiful that fell here last night – but mountains of green, hearts of kindness and Max.
Max, you say?
We were visiting our friends Jill and Eric Lacher. They have a dog, a Rottweiler, named Max. Here’s pictured with Jill.
I had met Max one time briefly when he was young. Jill was at our house for a roofing project, and Eric and Max stopped over. Eric held Max on leash. It was a brief acknowledgement of one another, but I was busy.
Our first interaction with Max would be different. I love dogs. I was excited to see him. I knew that I could win him over. Shortly after we arrived I walked to the sliding glass door with Eric. I was excited to see him. Max was excited to see me, but our excitement did nit look the same!
Graciously and clearly Eric corrected my approach. He explained that Max was a loyal protector – fiercely loyal, unconditionally loyal – and that we would be best to keep in mind Max’s rules and Max’s timing.
A Walk In The Park
We were told we would be taking a walk, a hike. “Three miles…Wear comfortable shoes…We will bring Max.”
I love my wife, I love the Lachers, I love nature, but in my mind, this was my chance to win Max’s heart.
“While we are on our hike,” Eric explained, “Max will be very focused. He won’t even care that your there. While we’re walking, at some point I’ll hand you the leash, and Max will learn you’re in charge too.”
It sounds too simple, but it fit Max’s rules.
By that evening we had moved from barking to buddies; from cautious to cuddlers.
On the trip I learned another lesson about my ignorance, and my need for humility. I also learned about Max.
Lessons learned about/from Max
Abandoned when a puppy, Max doesn’t trust easily. When he’s uncertain he feels afraid. Rather than cower in fear, or flee like Sierra, Max is a bully. As Jill explained, “a classic bully of other dogs and people, because he’s fearful.”
Even when he’s fearful and he’s “got the crazy eyes” and he is not always trustworthy, he listens well; and he loves deeply.
It would have been easy to focus on his dysfunction, but if we did we would never patiently get to know a loyal, loving, “can’t wait to see you” dog.
People are the same way.
We need patience to see the person rather than see the problems.
With some people we need patience to see the person rather than see the problems.
That’s my hope; that’s my prayer; that’s mysilentscream; and maybe it’s yours too.