(Can you even believe how wildly happy this dog looks?!)

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive
need for a logical universe that makes sense. 
But the real universe is always one step beyond logic. – Frank Herbert

My best
friend from seminary had two dogs – two basset hounds to be exact.  One brown and one black, they followed us on
long walks along the canal path that ran behind student housing. 

Two dogs in
a small seminary housing apartment is a lot. 

Later, when
she finished her doctorate and began teaching, we visited her and her husband
at their new home.  By then they had
three dogs, having adopted a little blind dog (whose breed I can’t recall).

Three dogs,
even in a spacious home, is a lot. 

Maybe that’s
why my friend felt the need to explain their newest addition.  “We just felt like maybe something was
missing, like maybe we could have more joy in our home,” she said and I knew
exactly what she meant.  

I was
working part time as our church’s Associate Pastor and our kids were two and
four.  Lying in bed late at night my
husband and I let questions rise and float into the air above our bed.  We were wondering about a third child,
wondering what we wanted and why.  Mostly
we were convinced that we were unsure and we resolved that waiting awhile might
make the most sense. 

But that
question of more joy, that sense that we were on the edge of a tipping point
toward something more, it circled us like a tempting fragrance, subtle,
suggestive, inviting.
  Looking back I
think what we were sensing was the possibility of a larger life than we’d
imagined for ourselves, a desire to fall head-over-heels into a good and
spacious place. 

unexpected arrival of twins tipped us, for sure. 

It was, to
put it mildly, terrifying, perhaps even apocalyptic.  It was the end of many things and the
beginning of many more; it was as Merriam Webster defines ‘apocalyptic’ –
wildly unrestrained. 

More joy,
I’m learning, never seems reasonable. 

It seldom seems

It quite
often may give the appearance of disrespectability. 

More joy may
well be apocalyptic, i.e. wildly unrestrained.

I was
talking to a friend the other night and she mentioned plans to pick out a puppy
the next day.  They already have three
dogs, several goats, cats and chickens. 
She said her husband looked at her as they stood in the kitchen earlier
that day and asked reflectively, “What are we doing?”

“I don’t
know,” she replied. 

She had
always wanted a Basset Hound and I told her over the phone, “Sometimes you just
have to lean into the joy.”

It sounded
like a wise thing to say.   

sigh, we’ve been talking about getting a dog. 
We have two cats now that were delivered by a dear friend the day after
I was released from a week-long hospital stay this past summer.  Getting two cats directly after a nervous
break-down of sorts was not a logical decision, but they’ve brought us a lot of

We have four
hens and four kids and endless lists of home repairs as well as a steady stream
of laundry and dishes.  This all, for two
adults, is a lot. 

And yet . .

ready for bed the other night we were again discussing the idea. 

“Why would
we get a dog?” I asked, sincerely and my husband, sitting on the side of the
tub, began ticking off a long and rambling list of reasons.

I asked, “Are you trying to give flimsy answers or are our reasons really that

“No,” he
said, smiling, “those were real reasons.”

One thing I
keep hearing as we continue weighing the decision, is the possibility that we
would all really enjoy a dog – the possibility of more joy. 


Sometimes you
just have to lean into it – at least that’s what I hear. 

there are things worth grasping that lie beyond the confines of reason and
logic, things that require a tipping of sorts, at least one
heart-in-your-throat moment of wild un-restraint. 

When have
you been moved to do something that didn’t “make sense” for the sake of joy?  What’s the last time you found yourself “wildly

Linking with #TellHisStory and Give Me Grace.

Sustainable Spirituality

Sustainable Spirituality

Design a spiritual life that works for your life. Sign up now to receive my FREE GUIDE explaining the top 5 characteristics of sustainable spirituality.

When you get the FREE guide you are also subscribing to Quiet Lights, my bi-monthly email containing contemplative resources and writing.

Thanks for subscribing! Check your email inbox for a link to download the free gift.