A buddy sent me a link to an interesting site. You enter your birthdate and you find out what the number one song was on the day you were born. While my top rated tune was not exactly a song for the ages I do think it might have had some influence in my life. The number one song on April 6 in 1953 was….drumroll please….
“How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?” by Patti Page.
The lyrics are an amazing study in banality.
How much is that doggie in the window? [Arf, arf]
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window? [Arf, arf] I do hope that doggie’s for sale
I actually remember the fine contribution of the backup barkers that added the “arf, arf” to the chorus.
“The one with the waggly tale” is one of the great lyrical moments in history. Right up there with the rock group America’s insights about the desert as they sang about a horse in the witness protection program.
“There were plants
Not gonna lie to you. That is genius. That lyric stands right alongside the classic line from Macarthur Park as a tortured Richard Harris seems completely unhinged that someone left the cake out in the rain. Perhaps he left his meds out in the rain as well.
As we go back to the number one song on my birthday we get a thoughtful lyrical explanation for the pursuit of the doggie in the window.
I don’t want a bunny or a kitty
I don’t want a parrot that talks
I don’t want a bowl of little fishies
You can’t take a goldfish for a walk
Actually you can take a goldfish for a walk but it won’t enjoy it very much. So that was the number one song playing on the Philco radio when I arrived home. I never understood my love of doggies over bunnies and kitties and fishies until I realized just today that I was brainwashed with this song. Who knew?
Perhaps because of that subliminal musical influence I have been enjoying companionship and gleaning spiritual insight from my canine family members ever since. This excerpt from “Bring’em Back Alive” documents an experience I had with our now deceased Golden Retriever Charlie. It gave me a little insight into how my relationship with Jesus should work.
Charlie developed a large benign tumor under his front leg that made walking difficult. We took him in for what would be a rather serious surgery at the ripe old canine age of twelve. The vet did a masterful job in removing the growth and taking care of Charlie. We were called to the animal hospital to pick up the old guy. We waited as they brought him out. He shuffled slowly out and I was taken aback by his appearance. Charlie was trembling, frightened and appeared to be in some pain. His head was down and his perpetual motion tail was strangely stilled. He seemed confused and disoriented. Then I walked over to Charlie and simply touched him. Almost immediately he quit trembling and he made a valiant attempt to wag his tail. We carefully got him into the car and took him home to heal.
As I reflected on that scene it struck me that Charlie’s reaction to my touch and mere presence was a wonderful illustration of how Jesus comforts (or desires to comfort) me. When I (his master) touched Charlie he was comforted. His pain was not gone. He was still frightened. He was still a bit disoriented and unsure. Charlie’s circumstances hadn’t really changed at all. But he knew that his master was there and that made it better. He trusted me and knew I would take care of him. What a picture that is of how the touch of Jesus enables us to respond when we are frightened, in pain, disoriented and confused. We need to remind ourselves that Jesus never promised that all trouble would vanish when we believe in Him. Jesus did promise that He would be there and that would be enough. But the tough question arises…do we truly believe that?
I recently quoted my friends at Leadership Catalyst. and their definition of the abundant life.
“The abundant life is comparing God’s character, faithfulness and ability with my particular circumstances and believing that God’s character trumps my circumstance.”
As we face uncertain times I am leaning more and more on that truth. God has proven trustworthy in my life over and over. I remember hearing the verse about how the yoke will be easy and the burden light when we believe in Jesus. I used to wonder how that could be true or what was wrong with me that I hadn’t experienced that to be true. I missed the first part of the verse…
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Jesus is saying to bond in relationship with Him and trust that His character, faithfulness and ability will trump my circumstance. And then I will find the burden is light and I will find rest for my soul. Like our frightened Golden Retriever I can learn to seek the touch and reassurance of the master and my spirit will improve.
My prayer for myself and for you today is that we will seek, realize, and be comforted by the touch of the Master. As I learned with Charlie, it doesn’t really matter what the circumstance might be, it is the knowledge that the master is there that makes all the difference.