I have been a Guide Dog owner for almost as long as I have been a Christian. But, in early August, I retired my much-loved Jay for health reasons. This meant that for the first time in 34 years I was without a working dog, so it was time to start using my Long Cane again.
Using a cane is very different to working with a dog – I perceive the environment in a new way (becoming aware of obstacles that I never knew existed) and both my identity and the way some people interact with me have changed.
As I’ve been thinking about this it has occurred to me that our Christian faith and working with a Guide Dog have some things in common:
- It is easy to take both for granted and to forget that many people do not share the benefits and privileges we have;
- They influence how we perceive and experience our world;
- They are ever present;
- Other people see us differently if they are aware of our faith or notice a Guide dog;
- Each gives us a shared identity with others who are Christians or Guide Dog Owners;
- Each is so much part of daily life that we take the security they offer for granted and don’t realise the positive impact they have on the way we live.
But there is one key difference – our faithful and loving God is everlasting and will never retire, so we will never have to cope with life without him.
So just as I will appreciate my new dog all the more when we train in January, I find myself valuing my faith and relationship with God in a new way and wanting to share this blessing with others who don’t yet have it.