I was reminded of something incredibly important tonight because God used my little Claire to help me understand something about Him. I know that God uses people/experiences/things in our lives to help us learn more about Him, but we are so often too distracted to recognize Him at work. He does this a lot between me and Claire - probably because she is safe for me, so it's easier for me to hear what He is saying. And I got His message loud and clear tonight.
I've been a little under the weather for the past few days, so Claire and I spent this afternoon laying low. I had dinner delivered - eggplant parmesan (comfort food for this Italian girl) - and sat down at the kitchen table to eat. I have trained Claire to sit or lie down beside me during meals so that she doesn't climb into my lap and try to steal the food off my plate. I reward her sporadically throughout the meal by sharing some with her - mainly vegetables, since they are just as good for her as they are for me. Tonight's dinner had onions in it, which are toxic to dogs, so sharing was out of the question. When this happens, I try to reinforce Claire's good behavior with "life rewards" such as petting her and praising her, but she's extremely food motivated, so it wasn't having the same effect. She was still looking at my food and drooling. Literally. She was getting impatient because I wasn't giving her my food, so she would transition from sitting to lying down to sitting again, juuuuust in case I didn't see her the first time. I told her [yes, I told her... don't you have conversations with your dog too?!] that I wasn't going to be able to give her any because there are onions in it and I love her too much to give her something that could hurt her.
And that's when it hit me.
Oftentimes in our lives, we have experiences where we want something but, for whatever reason, are unable to have or attain it. This might be a relationship or a job or something material. We get so impatient and frustrated and disappointed because, no matter what we do, it seems to slip out of our grasp and stays just out of our reach. In my fallibility, I wonder why God is withholding things from me that I think could bring me such satisfaction and joy. But He knows better. He wants the best thing for me, and He knows what that is - I do not. And, like Claire was with me tonight at dinner, I often get impatient and try to do good things in the hope that God will give in and reward me by giving me what I want... but He loves me too much to give me something that could hurt me.
So. No toxic food for Claire. No toxic situations for me.