We have a white 5-gallon bucket outside the rotunda door. We do most of our coming and going out of that door, as it leads right into the house from where we park. That bucket, strangely enough, fills up with water on the regular. Because…rain. Dakota slurps that water up every morning. Glub-glub, glub-glub goes her tongue lapping up the dirty runoff. Never mind that I refill her water bowl inside with fresh, clean water from the tap. And I do it every morning. No. The water that’s been, ah, seasoned for days strikes her as more flavorful.
This morning, after we’d had our ball romp, she dipped her head in the bucket. She had a ball in her mouth and dropped it in the water as well. See? Extra zing, like ball soup. She came back out with a wet face. She dunks for balls, too, like bobbing for apples.
She kept putting her head back in the bucket., then coming back up without the ball. She whimpered and looked back in the water. I peeked over her shoulder. The ball sat on the bottom of the bucket, a yellowish waterlogged mass. It sank beyond her grasp. She didn’t want to dive for it. Maybe she didn’t know how. I don’t speak German Shepherd.
Bracing myself, I dipped my hand into the cold water. I grabbed the ball from the depths. Immediately, I had Dakota’s complete attention, despite the newer ball currently in her mouth. The wet ball had split open due to Dakota’s patient ministrations over time. Most tennis balls float. This one couldn’t. Water had poured in its splits, causing it to sink. I tossed the soggy sphere onto the cement. Dakota scooped it up, content in the moment.
I thought about how we’re like that ball. We float on top of the seas around us, riding troubles like gulls in the waves. But sometimes, our spirit receives such pressure, we find we’ve lost our buoyancy. We fall down, down, down below the surface. We hit the bottom of the silent deep. We think we’re beyond retrieval. We think we’re lost. Nobody – no one – can reach us. We’re forgotten and alone.
It’s not true. God can reach us no matter where we are or how far we’ve fallen. As my dad likes to say, feelings are not reality. The truth is God sees us. The truth is He cares. He will find us. He will dive down after us an pluck us from the miry drink. He will lift us up again and we will breathe the healing salty air again.
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire. – Psalm 40:1-2