The Parable of the Dog and the Geese

It rained all day, but that was fine with me. 

Rainy days are perfect days to spend writing, and I had this year’s Advent book to work on. 

By the way, my thanks to all of you who sent me your Christmas memories and traditions. I’m enjoying them and the process of putting the book together! 

Now, the rainy-day story:

A boy and his dog 

I was busily writing that stormy day when something caught my eye outside the window. 

The rain had slowed to a soft drizzle, and a boy was draped in a pink-and-white beach towel, walking down the road. 

I was curious and needed to stretch my legs anyway, so I got up to take a look. 

Obviously, he had drawn the short straw because he was out in the rain, on the other end of a dog leash, waiting for the family pet to . . . well you know. 

At that moment, the drizzle turned back into a full-blown shower. The boy and the dog went from damp to drenched in 3.8 seconds. 

At one point, I saw the boy bend down and say something to the dog. The dog just looked up at him. 

Apparently, the dog’s “schedule” wasn’t in sync with the boy’s, or, for that matter, the rain’s. The look on the dog’s face made me laugh. 

I guess some things just can’t be rushed, even in bad weather. 

Floating nearby 

Meanwhile, a hundred yards away, eight wild geese were happily floating on the pond. They didn’t care if it was raining; they were just happy to paddle around. 

There were plenty of other geese to keep them company, and they were all free to come and go as they pleased. In fact, I think they were enjoying the boy and his dog’s show as much as I was. Several were looking in that direction. 

That’s the moment I thought, I am going to write a blog post about this. 

Two perspectives on similar circumstances 

The news is filled these days with a lot of noisy, frustrated people from any and all sides of the quarantine. 

Some want to work; others are afraid to return to work. Some think everyone should wear a mask while others shout about personal freedoms. Some think the government should send more money and others think the government should let them make some money. Some don’t think there is any reason to stay home and others think home is the only place people belong. 

Some people feel like they are that dog, on a leash, being forced into doing a “job.” (Okay, forgive that illustration!)  

Others are like the geese: out in the rain but making the best of it. 

How would you describe yourself? 

Are you more like the dog or the geese? 

A simple truth for a complex issue 

If reopening the country were an easy choice, we would pick the easy choice. 

But, there are no easy or perfect choices when it comes to the complex issue of opening our country. 

Everyone has different circumstances in the quarantine situation, and everyone would probably say they wish some things would change. People are going to be hurt if we don’t reopen, and people are going to be hurt when we reopen. 

How do we make a right choice with no right answers?

Jesus set a great example for us. 

Many times, I’ve thought that if everyone on all sides obeyed this one truth the complexities of these days would be greatly simplified. 

The pure wisdom for doing right 

The Pharisees, the most “religious” people of the day, had heard that Jesus had stumped the Sadducees, the most intellectual of the Jewish leaders. 

One of the Pharisees, a lawyer by trade, asked Jesus a question hoping to “test him.” The man asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36). 

Pharisees believed in strict obedience to the letter of the Law. They also studied the books of the prophets and the wisdom literature. In fact, the Pharisees added their own words to those, including hundreds of extra laws they thought people should obey. 

The Sadducees only believed that the first five books, the Torah, should be considered Scripture and nothing else. They didn’t follow or respect most of the laws and behaviors the Pharisees considered essential. 

The question presented to Jesus was intended to test which side he was on: the Pharisees or the Sadducees. His answer baffled all of them. 

Jesus answered them saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40). 

Basically, Jesus told both groups how to settle their disagreements and choose wisely. 

The same pure wisdom he gave the Pharisees and Sadducees works today. 

Truth lives somewhere in the middle 

The reason it is so difficult to reopen the country is that people, on both sides, are right about some things—and wrong about others. The first step to finding answers is realizing that no one side has it. 

Truth can be found in the perfect answer Jesus gave. 

Love God completely and walk in his perfect will, then solutions will be clearer. 

Secondly, pay attention to the solutions that treat others the way you wish to be treated, or maybe the way you have chosen to treat yourself. 

The parable of the dog and the geese 

The dog was at the end of a leash, in the rain, because one of its masters had decided it was a good time to take it outside. The geese were stuck in the rain as well, but they were just fine. 

Today, the sun is shining and the rain is just a memory. What is the lesson of the parable? 

We are all in the rain, but some of the population is held by a leash while others are able to float freely, unbothered by the conditions. Some people just have things easier in this life while others adapt to things more easily.  

Either way, all can know that things will be different in the morning.  

Rights vs. right 

A few blogs ago, I wrote about the fact that we really aren’t in this together because we all have different circumstances and inclinations. There is one virus but a variety of possible harms. There are quarantine rules that apply to everyone, but the rules impact all of us differently. 

If you are a dog on that leash, find joy in the fact that soon you will be home—warm, dry, and surrounded by people who love you. 

If you are a goose on the pond, find joy in the fact that you are already at home, even in the storms. 

If you find yourself in the midst of a debate over rights versus right, remember what Jesus said: our job is to love God and others. 

The right things to do will be whatever can be done rightly in God’s eyes, for the good of others. 

Some are dogs and some are geese in this world, but everyone has the right to be loved. 

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).