Athena is my black Lab mix. She is six years old now and much more settled than she was as a puppy. What she has not outgrown is her tendency to make questionable digestive choices. Cardboard is a major food group for her--especially empty toilet paper rolls. I cannot even begin to list the various vegetable, animal, and mineral entities that she has found outside and ingested. Most of the time her sturdy Lab stomach handles the insults just fine. But every now and then her gut rebels. This usually means a middle-of-the night or early morning awakening to her tummy loudly rumbling,squeaking and squawking followed by a trip outside. The best cure for her indigestion is yogurt. Half a cup or so and she is good to go. Interestingly, it is a chore to get her to eat the yogurt. She sees me holding a bowl of yogurt and she is hightailing it back to bed or hiding behind a table. So I put a little on my finger and dot it on her lips. She licks it off. I dot some more and she reflexively licks that too. After about three or four dots of yogurt she laps it right out of the bowl and licks the bowl clean. This always makes her feel better. So why does she resist? She has to be coaxed and convinced to eat the yogurt every single time. One would think she could remember how nicely yogurt soothes her upset tummy.
I was pondering this today after another early morning yogurt routine. But then I had to sheepishly admit to myself that I am not much better than my dog. There are a lot of things that are very good for me and I know they are very good for me, yet I resist. Eating modestly and limiting my sweets feels so much better than when I over indulge. I have so much more energy when I exercise regularly. All of life's daily demands are so much easier to handle when my prayer life is in order. I know this. And I will eat healthily, exercise, and pray daily for a while. But then I start backsliding. Before you know it I am out of sync in one or all of these areas and it is so hard to put myself back on track. But I take a few positive steps and just like Athena, after a few tastes I am lapping up the renewed discipline.
I am going to keep Athena in mind whenever I find myself I slacking in my physical, intellectual, or spiritual discipline. There are no good excuses. I need to stop resisting and just eat the yogurt!