Weaver was our dachshund who died just last year and had been a part of our family since he was 6 weeks old. Some might have characterized Weaver as docile and easy going. He seemed that way because his days were spent sleeping and looking out the front window. Rarely did his expression change and he only rarely barked.
When it was summertime and pleasant outside, Weaver wanted to stay in the house to be with us. In the winter when the cold harsh winds blew, Weaver was comfortable and safe inside the house, curled up by the vent of the furnace. On those cold winter nights when temperatures dropped and things outside perished in the harsh elements, Weaver’s personal environment was a bounteous one. He was warm, happy to be asleep and satisfied just to be in the house with us.
That’s the way Weaver was: happy and satisfied, living in the animal kingdom. Every day of his life, he was content if he was full and comfortable and with us.
But as our family went around daily activities, Weaver just sat. If we were reading, he couldn’t appreciate that because he didn’t understand or realize that one could read books. He didn’t even know what books were for. If we were watching a travel show on Spain, Weaver had no idea what we were watching because his world was with us, his bed and our home. If Tom Brokaw and the nightly news were on television, Weaver was oblivious; he had no idea about current events or the happenings in our world.
The difference between Weaver and us was that we lived in the human world and Weaver’s little mind was in the animal world. But the sweet thing about Weaver was that he considered himself (if he could consider) to be living and happy even though he was far away from a world of knowledge, reason and spiritual values.
Weaver didn’t concern himself with global warming or the economy. He had no idea if the crime rate went up or down or, for that matter, what crime was. He certainly didn’t worry about his weight and didn’t spend sleepless nights thinking about bills or goals or guilt.
Weaver was born into the dog kingdom. Weaver knew nothing of the spiritual dimension of our lives. He had no idea of anything spiritual and beyond.
But this spiritual dimension has occupied men’s thoughts for centuries. When Jesus told Nicodemus that “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God,” (John 3:3) Nicodemus was puzzled and thought Jesus was referring to the physical birth. He asked Jesus how could he physically go through that birth again.
Jesus was saying that we are all born into this carnal world and a physical existence. Yet, we cannot fathom what more exists for us until we are born spiritually into the kingdom of God.
Jesus explained to Nicodemus that the first birth was a physical birth by flesh, by water. Yet a man, he said, must be born of the spirit. Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus gave him the entire plan. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Weaver was as contented as he could be in this life. Yet we have the promise of something much greater. Being born into the kingdom of God is a privilege offered to all human beings. Only in that realm do we find the assurance for the future and contentment beyond our physical circumstances.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College.