Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hot dogs from heaven

We are training our new dog, Ziggy, with hot dogs.

In the old days, of course, training involved a rolled up newspaper and a choke collar, complimented with the occasional milk bone. But the hot dog method involves identifying the behavior you DO want and heavily reinforcing it with tiny bits of cut up hot dogs.

For example, we want the dog to stay out of the kitchen when we are in there cooking. I have taught him to sit quietly at the threshold. As long as he is there, I toss the occasional hot dog bit over his shoulder. He is learning that when he is in the kitchen=no hot dog. When he waits at the door=hot dogs rain down on him like manna from heaven.

God's consolations are like spiritual hot dogs. When we are vaguely on the right path, he showers us with delicious spiritual tidbits. When we get more spiritually mature, perhaps he weans us off the hot dogs, gently, gradually, so we learn to have faith in him even without the spiritual hot dogs.

Mother Teresa is said to have been in a spiritual desert for 50 years. For her entire ministry in Calcutta, not one hot dog. Can you imagine that? She must have been a spiritual giant to be able to devote herself to that ministry without the constant reinforcement of consolations from God. When I heard about that, I was moved to tears. She really must have been a saint to be able to do that.

Today I give thanks to all the spiritual hot dogs God has thrown my way. I am the eager puppy, wiggling with joy at the feet of him whom I adore.

Sit. Stay. Good Girl.

Merry Christmas, my beloved friends.

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