I’ve watched dogs dig, dig, DIG for something they remember burying–a bone, a toy, a sock (you know, the match you can’t find to your favorite pair). They have buried it to save for later. They have buried it to savor for later. They have buried it so that they can remember and be like a kid tearing into presents at Christmas.
And it is a little like Christmas when we find something we put away and forgot. My mom bought me a little Fozzie Bear, from The Muppets, one Christmas. It was perfect for my stocking, and she knew that Fozzie was my favorite. Problem: She bought it in July and put it ‘away.’ Christmas Eve, after everyone had gone to bed, she filled the stockings–but no Fozzie. She tore through her closet (her go-to hiding place). She looked in every cabinet (and my parents’ house has many). Nothing. I remember her disappointment Christmas Day. Of course I had no idea anything was amiss, so everything in my stocking thrilled me. Then she told me about Fozzie and how she was sure she’d find him in the next day or two. Twelve years later (I had graduated high school and college, had been married a few years and had a child), she found him. Celebration ensued!! I received a package in the mail a few days later, and all my childhood memories of The Muppets flooded me. In that moment, I returned to Christmas Day twelve years previous. I was a teen again and relived the magical moment of the surprises of Christmas morning. Fozzie became a toy for our baby, and I always smiled when she would hold him and teethe on him.
Recently, growing pains have darkened my spiritual zeal. Life events, life maturity, life revelations and reflections take a toll on our passion as we navigate, process and reinterpret things we thought unchangeable. Our souls, thinking they were on solid bedrock, suddenly discover a sinkhole opening up and we panic our way to safety. But in the midst of the confusion and anxiety of what the future holds, there is something long-buried in my spirit that I’m trying to dig up. Not sure of what I will find, I keep digging, deeper and deeper, knowing that I will discover something I hid away for just this time. I keep asking God to ‘throw me a bone’ and give me a little respite; but I believe now that He did throw me a bone long ago and I buried it, because I didn’t need it yet.
So I dig. I dig with anticipation. I dig with hope. I dig with confidence. A joyful surprise waits a little deeper.