What Do You Need?

A soft jingling in the hallway followed by a pit, pat, pit, pat signals Dusty’s arrival before I sense him peering around the corner.  I hesitate to glance his way because I know when I do his bright little eyes will capture mine with a piercing stare.  His Maltese hair that flops forward over his brows gives him a needy, messy look that makes me want to scoop him up for a quick hug.  I do mean quick, since he only allows me to hold him in a snuggle for a short five seconds before he squirms out of my grasp intent on being on his own.  However when he needs something he appears, he waits for eye-to-eye contact with me, and then gives me his message.
I ask, “Dusty what do you need?’’ Sometimes I know he’s hungry, or he requires a trip outside.  Sometimes he raises a paw, sticks out his little tongue, and throws a questioning look my way.  That means he wants to go for a walk with me.  He’ll follow my every move with encouraging looks that I interpret as “let’s go… open the door.”  Energy and excitement shine from his eyes as he prepares to follow my lead.

Sometimes during our day together he will surprise me by jumping on my lap, pawing at my face and gazing into my eyes.  “Do you need some loving?” I’ll ask him then.  I reassure him with gentle strokes on his back, as I lower my eyelids and he mimics with his.  Usually a deep sigh signals his contentment.  He has learned over and over again that when I ask him what he needs, I also plan to provide for him.  He has learned that I am always there for him.

Like Dusty I have someone who wants me to turn my eyes to him, to ask in my needy, messy state for his help.  He wants me to willingly walk with him wherever he leads. I am reminded of a lovely painting of Jesus that graces the front of the sanctuary in my childhood church. It features Jesus knocking at a door, as he looks with a piercing stare towards the worshippers.

Like Dusty, I often find that what I need most is calm reassurance.  I will slowly close my eyes, picturing Jesus knocking at my door.  Then I will hear him say, “What do you need?”  As I look into his eyes, I know that he will always be there for me.

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