Today I was meeting with a friend at Starbucks. Sitting in a comfy corner spot, Chester was laying on the cool cement floor ON my friend's feet which is where she wanted him bytheway - and of course he knew that. I am so thankful for this friend...in our new homeland. The kind of friend who is real and honest and teary and humorous about life. The kind of person who frees me to be me in her midst. A treasure.
Anyways. As we were snuggled in our leather chairs in the corner of Starbucks, she mentioned how her family has missed us these past weeks, & missed seeing us at church as well. Missed me, Keith, and CHESTER. Especially Chester ;-) .
We talked about that. Regarding Sundays at Church & Chester in the mix. Chester is one of the best greeters ever....especially for people who feel uncomfortable or shy. People who are in pain and do NOT want to talk about it, or reveal it. Some people may not approach a person, but they may approach a soft, cuddly, brown-eyed, golden retriever.
Chester is an ice breaker. He's a conversation starter. He's soft fur for nervous hands. He's a smile bringer. And he is someone you don't need to use words with in order to feel comfortable. Silence is OK.
Another thing about Chester. When he is with you....he is WITH YOU. I mean totally and fully present with you. And he knows what you need...whether it's a romp, or a smooch, or a sit still kind of time. He is not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow. He is not thinking about his to-do list, or what he wants to say, or who he wants to talk to next. He's in the moment fully. And if he is not---well, then we all know it is time to move-along, because we are in the wrong spot OR the moment IS over.
Because God has gifted Chester to do what he does with people...I learn much from my therapy dog. I know he follows my lead and trusts me as his Leader--- often though, it is me who follows him. Many times, I am not IN the moment. And I need His reminder, which often comes through my furry friend, to pay attention and BE HERE. Always I am learning.
Time does fly when you're with a good friend and a good cup of coffee........and it was time to go. On the way out, there was a man waiting near the counter for his order. He asked to pet Chester. I stopped. He knelt down ~~ he and Chester had their moment ~~. As I watched the love exchanged between these two, I saw the gentle kiss coming. Chester stayed very still, enjoying the tender ear rub, the kind words; and then softly gave him a smooch on the nose. The man said "thank you, I was hoping for that."
As we continued out the door, my friend looked at Chester "Always working, aren't you buddy?"
Oh the life of a therapy dog....and the lessons he teaches me.