A few years ago, we found ourselves experiencing some major life changes. Our son and his family moved away, my pastoral role changed, and we had to leave our beloved faith community. While all the changes were for good, they created unique places of grief. So, we did what any wise (or maybe unwise) household might consider when change abounds; we got a puppy!
In all seriousness, it feels like our puppy continues to help us learn to imagine the relationship between the shepherd and sheep. The teaching has less to do with her size and more to do with her voice and the way she anticipates our presence. When anyone comes near, she uses her voice to announce their arrival so that we might be aware and ultimately, protected. When we call her name, she comes to us. During some of our most lonely days of grief, she provides the ministry of presence and friendship.
If the words of John 10 were penned today, it seems that the sheep/shepherd metaphor could be exchanged for puppy/caregiver.
Author: Margaret Tyler