skip Becker • derry member

The journey of faith is a long and difficult road.

It begins with the innocence of a young mind learning the stories and absorbing the first complexities of belief in an unseen God. It continues with the life and death of Jesus and includes a Spirit moving across the lives of every living thing, always.

The journey of faith includes every phase of our lives. From we as children to we who have lived a lot of years. At every turn, there has been doubt, belief, doubt and belief.

I’m going to write about Walter.

My dog. Meet him in this short video.

I bought Walter as a diversion and a way of comforting my ill wife. It kind of worked. But after she passed, he became a blessing to me much more than I expected.Walter became a larger part of my life. Walter was full of love for me. He was faithful. He was calm and loyal. He taught me the value of those attributes by his example. He was accepting of my failures and celebrated my kindnesses. He taught me to be tolerant and respectful of others without regard for race, religion, gender, or status.

Walter loves everyone.

You’re probably expecting an essay on how much I love my dog. While I do, I would rather write about how much my dog loves me.

I’m not perfect, I’ve behaved badly from time to time. I have mistreated others and I’ve mistreated Walter from time to time. For others, reconciliation is often a long and apologetic road. For Walter I need only say, “I’m sorry” and I’m forgiven. Complete and utter forgiveness. While he can’t speak, he can still communicate using a combination of non-verbal gestures and sounds which focus my attention on what he wants. I have to learn to watch and listen very carefully since he is never perfectly clear with his “meaning making.”

He is always there for me. If I’m ill, he stays near and comforts me. If I’m happy he rejoices with me and starts looking for ways to spread that joy around. Racing around my home is a usual tactic.

He welcomes the adoration of others. He is especially fond of children. I’ve known unconditional love. It’s a love which springs from the heart, mind and spirit. I am blessed.

We are all blessed.

We all have the gifts that little dog brings.