In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)
Our Doberman puppy, Lucy, is now a year old. Though petite for her breed, she is tough and agile. A few weeks ago, she cleared a four foot high fence in order to get into the pasture and chase the horses. My horse enjoys her company. They run side by side along the fence line, and he teases her to get her started racing. She likes him, too. He provides her with a favorite delicacy, manure. We can always tell when she has enjoyed this tasty treat. She lets loose noxious odors throughout the house. She is the most observant dog we have ever had. She will tear off the porch growling before bicyclists even round the corner. Sometimes, she stands in the yard barking and we cannot see a thing, though she is warning us that something is out there. She dashes back and forth from the front of the house to the back skidding along on the wood floor chasing imaginary foe, and will not give our older Doberman a minute’s peace. She is a devil when it comes to getting into the garbage. No can is a match for her, and she stashes her trash under the dining table. She shreds toys within hours of receiving them and usually has someone’s sock in her mouth though she also rips up T-shirts with glee. Her favorite pastime, however, is sleeping in our bed. When the house is quiet, I know that she will be spread out in the middle of my once pristine quilt. In the evening, she curls up beside my husband, and they watch television together. If she is not already in the bed with him, I have to be careful. As soon as I pull down the covers on my side, she slips around me. Before I can turn off the light, she will be laying with her head on my pillow. Then, I have to push her over so I can get into bed. It is not easy to sleep with a Doberman beside me. She stretches her legs out so that they poke me in the back or rest on my shoulder. Her feet smell bad as does her breath. (Remember that manure she eats). She does not like sharing the pillow and snores in my ear. She is also hot and I do not need anything else to make me sweat. It is not really good for my marriage to have her there either. It is hard to cuddle with her furry body stretched out between us. Having her solidly resting there is like when I go to bed angry at my husband. That hurt or bitterness lies there creating an impenetrable barrier that we cannot overcome. The Bible tells me not to let my anger seethe overnight, but to offer forgiveness and reconciliation before I lay my head on my pillow. It is good advice for keeping my marriage strong. So is shoving the dog out of the bed.