Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Hmmm, thar's a Dawg on it."

Have you ever wanted to learn more about something so you could not only know it for yourself but be able to repeat to others?  Well, Frank has an eye for detail and the ability to remember those details, the history of events or the background associated with a painting or other forms of art, as well as information about the artist.  I have several other family members and friends who are also adept at remembering such details.

I, on the other hand, have to work at remembering the historical background of artifacts, mainly because I don't really care. I am not a good gossip because I can't even get my gossip facts straight.  If I don't care about something, I just don't pay enough attention to remember the details.  

Well, I decided to learn the background about Fu Dogs. Don't ask me why.  I just did.  So, here goes.

We have two large oriental ginger jars - maybe 2 ft tall and 10 in. in diameter at the largest part of the jars.  Each one has a lid with a Fu Dog on it.  Chinese people believe the Fu Dog represents authority and is a guardian against evil power.  

Fu Dogs are the ancient sacred dogs of Asia who guard Buddhist temples.  The association between these dogs and Buddha is one of great significance.  

Fu Dogs have the appearance of a lion.  The lion in the Buddhist religion is seen as sacred and has sometimes been sacrificed to Buddha.  The name given to these guardians originates from China.  

The Chinese word for Buddha is Fo, which led to the original title  Dog of Fo.  There have been other theories that the name developed from the city of Foochow; however, there is no actual proof of this.  Another name given to the creature is Lion of Korea.  

The Fu Dog dates back to the Hans Dynasty - in 206 B.C. There are more impressive facts I could share about the ginger jars, the Fu Dogs on the lids, and the significance of having a pair of them; but I have shared enough to make a point.  

The only thing special about the ginger jars and the Fu Dogs to me is that they are beautiful, and Frank and I bought them together. I was quite proud of myself for learning something significant about the ginger jars and was looking forward to having the opportunity to impress someone with what I knew. 

There have been several electricians, painters, and handymen in and out of the house over the past few weeks, since we are taking our time updating our home.  There are two particular guys with whom I have the most fun.  

They are witty and funny, have worked together for 30 years and "feed off of one another" for having fun while they work. One morning when they were at the house, I was gingerly dusting the ginger jar (pun intended) and lifted the lid off to dust the "Fu Dog" when one of the guys walked by and quipped, "hmmm, thar's a dawg on it." He wasn't trying to be funny, just making an observation.  

There I stood, knowing all of this history about the Fu Dog, which is really neat to know, and I laughed when he made that comment.  For all of the information I had, it was just a "dawg." Now, see, to me that is the better story.

The Lord spoke to me in that instant with this thought.  I spend so much time on things that don't really matter.  I sometimes make things that don't matter to my personal growth or my eternal recompense so important.  Those things in themselves are not bad, but my infatuation with them to the exclusion of what is best is not pleasing to the Lord. My Daddy would always say that the "good in life was the enemy of the best in life."  

Please, please don't get me wrong on this.  There is absolutely nothing wrong and everything right with knowing wonderful details about life, art, music, and other things that interest us.  In fact, it is a gift to love and have a certain affinity for different interests and abilities. I think what the Lord was trying to teach me in that moment was that most things are not nearly as important as I think they are.

When we are admonished not to have other gods before Him, it doesn't just mean graven images, it means anything we put more energy into than loving, knowing, and pleasing the Lord. When we "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things will be added unto us."  Matthew 6:33 

The words to another wonderful hymn I love are, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

I am going to continue learning about the "Fu Dogs" of life, but I will strive to keep things in the right perspective by keeping my eyes on the Lord.  The next time something seems overwhelming or I am making a mountain out of a mole hill, I want to remember, it's just a "dawg," and not nearly as important as my pride tells me it is.  You do the same.  Love to you all.  Still approaching these "'dawg' days of summer" with joy.  Mecca