2018-05-02 - Weary
Originally Published 2016-01-27
The word weary is found over three dozen times in the King James Version of the Bible. In Galatians 6:9 and Jeremiah 31:24, the Greek and Hebrew words from which weary originates are as follows: to be weak, to fail, to be faint; another root derivative in Greek is: worthless, depraved, and wicked. God knows we will experience weariness at different intervals in our lives, and while affirming by some specific examples, he also immediately reminds us of how he intends to take care of us, all along the journey. The Galatians 6:9 verse below is in three parts: the predicament: well-doing, the reward: shall reap; the reminder: faint (Greek: relax) not. How do we translate that thinking into daily living, you say? I’m so glad you asked.
This week, I have been working on some more training for our pup, Melody. One of the notes in the book I have been referencing is teaching “shaking hands” (ASPCA Complete Dog Training Manual by Bruce Fogle, D.V.M., 1994),” since raising the paw is a subservient gesture to the canine. We had not mastered that in prior sessions, so I zeroed in on this, to begin anew. I realized it was the key to moving to many subsequent commands specifically targeted for her safety as well as mine, or anyone else interacting with her. After a series of repetitions, including a food reward, she learns she is doing the correct action to the instruction given her. At some later point, she then follows my body language, and listens for a key word, without need of the food reward. Five days later, with about eight sessions, we are close to having “paw” mastered. We then added some practice with the command “heel.” While on a light and loose lead, walking around the house, she was similarly rewarded for accurate and timely responses to this mandate. The hardest part was changing directions, yet with some practice, consistent cues and word recall she is well on her way to comprehending me. Being a descendent of sporting dogs bred for high responsiveness to human commands, and naturally affectionate, she is prone to having an interest in doing what is pleasing. Next, we moved to “stay,” and that was when I got the most weary. The lead is gently brought straight over her head after she sits, and the trainer makes incremental steps around the dog, in a circle, as she is instructed to “stay!”
At each point she remains in place, she is given a food reward. If she starts to move, you gently take hold of her collar, just behind her head, and lift it up while repeating “stay." She did very well until I was standing behind her, at which point her natural inclination was to turn and face me. I began to feel as though I were doing an upright version of an old game called "sit and spin,” because we both ended up moving in circles, with me grabbing her collar and starting over again with “sit”. After about five minutes, I was beginning to wonder if we might be found later by a family member, stuck in a permanent repetition, reminding me of a recurring nightmare. And then a day later when I began the sequence, she did not get up and move even one time. Voila!
Because of perseverance, we continued in well-doing, we reaped the benefits of persistence in well-doing, and were reminded of what it means to not relax or give up in the process of well-doing. Was it easy? No! Will there be more challenges ahead? Yes! Granted, I do wish it were as easy with people, as it is with Ms. Melody on any given day. She truly wants to please me and understand what I am attempting to convey to her. My frustration is only that I may be doing something in an errant manner, leading her to confusion. Can we do well with humans not eager to please us? Yes! Is it going to be easy? No! One of the reasons there is an added challenge to well doing with people, is that we are less likely to see the results, and instead, we - as Christ followers - must rely on God’s reward to us. His compensation to us comes later, and in the meantime, his promise must be enough. Some concepts are much easier to comprehended on an intellectual level, over the emotional or physical ones. Perhaps recalling moments that we were able to capture an emotional, physical, and intellectual victory, like Ms. Mel learning “paw,” “heel” and “stay" can remind us of what hope being fulfilled resembles. Truth of everlasting magnitude finds its way to us in everyday activities. We just must be teachable for God's glory.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)
All scripture references from King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted