Monday, January 07, 2008

Beautiful Joe

My daughter and I try to have a book to read aloud together pretty much all the time. It is one of our favorite things we share. Our recent pick is a book called Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders. It was originally written in 1893. It is the story of a dog who is abused and is rescued by a loving family. The later part of the story is about his adventures with this family. The book is told from the dogs perspective. Don't ask me why, but I especially enjoy a story told from the point of view of an animal and so does my daughter. While reading the first chapter this quote stuck out to me.

"One reason for Jenkins' cruelty was his idleness. After he went his rounds in the morning with his milk cans, he had nothing to do till late in the afternoon but take care of his stable and yard. If he had kept them neat, and groomed his horse, and cleaned the cows, and dug up the garden, it would have taken up all his time; but he never tidied the place at all, till his yard and stable got so littered up with things he threw down that he could not make his way about."

This struck me. How many times in my day or week am I impatient or irritable due to idleness? The more idle I am with my time the more self focused I become and the less satisfied I am. The less satisfied I am, the more I pursue pleasure which makes me even more self absorbed. When my hands are busy with the work before me, in my case it's usually work in serving my family, I don't have time to become as self absorbed.

Anyway, leave it to a dog to get my attention. I am grateful that the Lord can use anything to remind me to keep my heart in the right place.

1 comment:

Cara said...

Ouch--that hits me where it hurts! One of our pastor's wives has quoted her husband's definition of laziness as "doing what you want to do instead of what you ought to do." I have definitely seen that if I am reading when I ought to be cleaning, I tend to respond to my kids' "interruptions" with much less grace and compassion. Thanks for this helpful reminder! (And we're praying for you guys.)