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22nd July: Housedog or Hound of the Lord

As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you', nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you'...But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior part, that there m

'For a long time he lived in the toy cupboard or on the nursery floor, and no one thought very much about him. He was naturally shy, and being only made of velveteen, some of the more expensive toys quite snubbed him. The mechanical toys were very superior, and looked down upon everyone else; they were full of modern ideas, and pretended they were real. The model boat, who had lived through two seasons and lost most of his paint, caught the tone from them and never missed an opportunity of referring to his rigging in technical terms. The Rabbit could not claim to be a model of anything, for he didn't know that real rabbits existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust, like himself, and he understood that sawdust was quite out-of-date and should never be mentioned in modern circles'. (The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams).*

Two Senior House Officers were overheard discussing the rota for January. 'Has your houseman had his holidays yet?' asked one. 'No, he's taking the last two weeks, but it doesn't make any difference if he's there or not', was the reply. Medicine is full of people competing with each other. The sad thing is that there are very few who are outstandingly better than the rest. As jobs become scarce, the competition hots up, and the struggle to be noticed intensifies. How easy it is then to try to boost a dented ego by little remarks which diminish our colleagues. How shoddy! The Rabbit was no worse -- and no better -- than the other toys. His contribution in the nursery was important, and could no more be fulfilled by the others than he could fulfil theirs. But while we can laugh at the toys, it is somehow harder to see that we are subject to the same emotions.

Perhaps it is really about acceptance. If I know that I am important to someone, that I am loved, then I do not need to seek respect from others. But I have to believe that I am lovable. I need to be reminded that, for the Christian, real acceptance comes in remembering that knowing me, God loves me. Nothing hidden, nothing earned. I don't need modern ideas, or complicated rigging to impress God. Knowing the right words or having the right connections doesn't matter.

To think about: 'What impresses me?'

Further reading: Zp 3:16-18. Lk 7:36-50.


* Reprinted by permission of William Heinemann Ltd.

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