Discover more from A Letter from Rocco
running away and not getting too far
Often people compare dogs to God. They point to a dog’s loyalty, unconditional love, etc.. and say that they point us right to the heart of God.
My experience has been the opposite.
Rocco has shown me the heart of God, but because of my own likeness to God (this isn’t a humble brag, Scripture says we’re made in the imago dei, the image of God). Rocco reminds me of myself in relationship to God— my foolishness, my general disregard for what is most important, and my tendency to be single-minded to the point of personal downfall.
All of that is to say: Rocco ran away last week. And it was a big one.
Rocco’s been sleeping in my bed for the past several months, mostly because I’ve been too lazy to bring his crate in from the car. On Sunday night, Rocco jumped into bed with me and promptly jumped out. That’s pretty normal… I figured he was getting a drink and I went to sleep.
About 2 hours later, my phone started ringing and it was my upstairs neighbor. Confused about why she would be calling me so late, I figured it must be important and so I answered.
“I was just walking the dog down the street and Rocco ran up to us! I have him outside your door.”
Little buddy had somehow gotten out. Best I can figure, I forgot to lock one of my doors and the wind blew it open (you can safely bet that won’t happen again).
It was terrifying. I can’t imagine what I would have done if I had woken up the next morning and Rocco simply wasn’t in my apartment. Already, my heartrate had gone up quite a bit and I planned to never let him out of the home again.
Rocco didn’t go very far, though. He stayed near home. He just went out exploring, probably chased my neighbor’s cat a little bit and investigated the smells that I don’t normally let him stop to sniff on our walks. When he was found, even hours later, it was on the very block where we live.
Faced with the open world to explore, Rocco didn’t even leave our block. He was never too far from home.
One of my favorite songs to pray with during Lent is Where I Belong by Building 429. One of the lines says, “All I know is I’m not home yet, / this is not where I belong.”
We all want to belong. But on this earth, there is a certain existential angst that we will always experience because we’re not in heaven. We are made for union with God and until we experience that in its fullness, we will be (or at least should be) unsatisfied.
Now, this dissatisfaction is coupled with a very real sense of hope. It’s not a despair that we will never belong, that we will never be fulfilled and feel at home. It’s trust that the day will come for us and a painful longing for that day when we are actually brought home by our Good Shepherd, just like my neighbor carried Rocco home that night.
Like Rocco, we are never very far from our heavenly home. This is not a memento mori reflection about how close death is, though. What this means is that God is constantly entering into
That’s what we see during Holy Week and Easter: when we suffer, we are not far from home. When people we love abandon us, we are not far from home. When we are physically hurting, we are not far from home. When we experience doubts and feel that God has abandoned us, we are not far from home.
We are not far from home because God in the person of Jesus Christ has come to be with us right there. He came one time in history, he continues to come through grace that exceeds all rationality, and he is really substantially present the in Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. Truly, we are never far from home.
I hope you have a blessed Sacred Triduum and Easter and remember that you’re never too far from home.
If you think my writing is worth supporting, please consider becoming a paid subscriber! You can subscribe for either $5/month or $50/year here. I promise to use 10% of every annual donation to purchase a bone for hungry puppies (Rocco).