A Dog Named Buddy

“A single act of love makes the soul return to life.”  –St. Maximilian KolbeBuddy

Maybe it’s the fact that I am trying to kick a diet coke habit.  Perhaps it’s because my fridge repair guy has cancelled for the 2nd time.  I’m not entirely sure the reason, but I can say for certain that I wasn’t in any jeopardy of being accused of excessive holiness this morning.

I was focused on a long list of priorities to manage and errands to run.  On the top of my pile are multiple sets of some ridiculous forms the kid’s school has been pestering me for…..FOREVER.

I wanted to shout, “My kids haven’t changed doctors, they still aren’t allergic to anything, we haven’t moved, and our cell phone numbers remain the same.  Yes, you can give my kid a Tylenol if he has a headache.   We still don’t care which number you’re going to use on the phone tree that has never been used in my last 10 years at this school… and last but not least….our language preference is still ENGLISH!  Why can’t we just click a box that says SAME AS LAST YEAR?!”

These are the things that drive me crazy.  Between them and the incessantly barking neighbor dogs, it was just getting to me.  Clearly, I thought, I have lost it.  I need to go get sweaty and work off the anger management problem that seems to be lathering up.

As I drove my blue minivan towards the gym, I noticed the car ahead of me had pulled to the side of the road and stopped.  There she was– an anguished, gray-haired hysterical woman– in the middle of the street.  Inching closer, I could hear her crying and see that there was a dog lying motionless at her feet.  She was inconsolable.  Oh gosh.

The traffic began to backup on the busy road, but everyone gave her respectful space.  It was truly a poignant scene, which made my heart hurt and brought me out of myself.  Making my way out of the area after a few minutes,  I found myself asking God to bring this stranger peace of heart.  It was hard to watch her pain, as she was so raw with emotion, and it remains with me still.

That said, I think it’s worth confessing that I, myself, am not really a dog fan (as you may have inferred in the earlier paragraph).  I have never quite connected with the animal lovers of the world.  I am fully aware of the obvious flaw in character that I am revealing when I share this, by the way.  That said, a friend who knows this about me smiled a bit at my sugary sentimentality over the woman and her lost canine companion from this morning.  She explained to me that a good dog loves you when no one else does, is always happy to see you and she said, “sometimes, nothing feels better than being loved even when you don’t deserve it.”


God loves me even when I don’t feel lovely.  He loves me when I feel abandoned and ignored.  Always.  No matter what.

God uses dogs too?  They are instruments of His love.  Just like amazing girlfriends, loving spouses, freckle-faced kids, beautiful sunsets, and knockout roses.

Who knew?

Notice how when you start remembering to love others, think of them before yourself, you come out of yourself and suddenly what seemed so bothersome is much less noticeable?  When I began to earnestly pray for Ruth and her dog Buddy this morning, I forgot all about my lack of ice cubes and my stack of forms.

Here’s a little scriptural wisdom I could probably use to have tattooed to my arm.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

I’m going to work on it.  It’s that whole concept of thinking more about loving the next guy first, before myself, that gives me fits.  Sometimes I wonder if I am hopeless.  Pretty sure, for example that I need a ladle full of extra grace to overcome the incessantly barking dogs thing.

God did point out to me today that dogs can rather beautifully serve His purpose.  It’s funny how loud he yells sometimes, so, I’ll try.

What does He yell at you about?

I am an American, I am a Catholic

IamAnAmericanMy alma mater, Purdue University, has carved out a unique way to honor our nation before home football games.  If you’re a Boliermaker, then I don’t need to explain.  For the uninitiated, here’s the drill.

A proud tradition of Ross-Ade Stadium pregame ceremonies is the reading of this tribute to freedom by Roy Johnson, voice of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band.

“I am an American. That’s the way most of us put it, just matter of factly. They are plain words, those four: you could write them on your thumbnail, or sweep them across this bright autumn sky. But remember too, that they are more than just words. They are a way of life. So whenever you speak them, speak them firmly, speak them proudly, speak them gratefully I AM AN AMERICAN!”

Every time I hear Roy’s booming voice and the crowd proudly shouting along with him on those last four words, I am reminded about what a terrific place this is that I call home and the amazing people who died so that I could be free.

Yes, it’s true that now and then over the years we find the voters have chosen a rummy to represent us or run the big show in DC.  I am not proud of my fellow Americans who swindle millions of dollars from one another or worse yet who commit heinous crimes that simply cannot be defended. There are people who hate us everywhere on this globe, and many of them have valid gripes.  Still, my home is this imperfect and wonderful place where we watch bottle rockets shoot into the sky off piers over the lake every July 4 while we listen to Lee Greenwood sing “God Bless the USA”.  The stars and stripes are always going to be home to me.  I will spare you the list I have compiled about what makes the country great from my spot here in Indiana.  You surely have your own top 10 anyway.

Occasionally, when I am particularly aggravated by the way things are going in the US of A, though, I think about where might I move if I were going to get out of “Dodge.”  I could definitely become Canadian.  I mean, Canada is close and the people are nice, eh?  I like Tim Horton’s and I could get used to gravy with my fries.  Let’s be honest, though….they are better with Heinz 57 slathered all over them and it’s darn cold up there.  I AM AN AMERICAN. Here is where I belong.

It’s very much the same thing for me faith wise.  I am Roman Catholic.  My church is home.  None other will do.

This week I received an angry reply to a blog post.  That is a generous description on my part, if I am candid.  I will not include it here because the tone was so acerbic and the content inappropriate, but much of the frustration was squarely aimed at Pope Francis and anyone who might support him.  However, the reader rightly noted that the Catholic Church has made some grave mistakes and worse yet committed heinous crimes that cannot be defended. There are people who hate us everywhere on this globe, and many of them have valid gripes.  Still, my home is this imperfect and wonderful place called Catholicism.

Every time I re-read the angry note I received,  it reminds me of Pilate and the crowd yelling “crucify Him” to the most innocent person imaginable.  I am reminded about what a terrific place this is that I call home, all because of one amazing man who faced that crowd in obedience, who died so that I could be free.

For those of you familiar with Catholic convert Dorothy Day, she said  “The Church is at times a spotless bride of Christ and at other times she is the whore of Babylon, but we love her to death because she is Christ and she has the words of everlasting life.”

I would argue one simply cannot separate Christ from His Church.  They are one in the same if you believe, as I do, that Jesus is alive.

Perhaps when I decide to become Canadian, I will do as my youngest once suggested he might do and convert to Judaism.  After all, as my wise youngest son has pointed out, “Those are good people Mom.  Jesus was Jewish.”.

Naaa.  It just isn’t for me.

So, even though I have heard it said that the Church is always God hung between two thieves, she is my home.  To whom would I go, if not to Jesus?  No other church will do.

St. Teresa of Avila.  She was a little bit Catholic too.

St. Teresa of Avila. She was a little bit Catholic too.


Home IS where your heart is.