HE PAST WEEK HAS BEEN AN EXCITING ONE FOR THE KLINGBEIL CLAN.
It was “pet week.” Monday evening we picked up a 4-year-old African gray parrot, and everybody is delighted. Galileo (that’s his name) is settling down nicely and talking like a pro. My wife, Chantal, is pleased, as she grew up with an African gray and had always dreamt of having one herself. In case you did not know, this is a lifetime commitment, as these parrots can reach 50-70 years.
Thursday night we went on another mission. This time we picked up a puppy. When we considered the invitation to work at the General Conference, one of the negotiating pieces in our home was the possibility of having (again) a dog. The girls were excited, and it was time to honor our commitment.
Amelia is a mutt. She looks cute and seems to have some Labrador, some fox terrier, and perhaps even some German shepherd in her. She is only 4 months old, and I don’t know what kind of cruelty she has already experienced. We discovered her on the Web (where else?) in a shelter. We were her last chance; otherwise she would have been destroyed. The first day she did not want to venture out of her big crate. I don’t know if she had ever felt grass and enjoyed the smells of a garden. Her tail was perpetually between her legs. She is getting a full dose (or perhaps even an “overdose”) of love from everybody in the family and is doing better, but as I watched her play guardedly, always scanning the backyard for possible danger, I was reminded of the German term Gottesbild (“image of God”). Even though we wanted the best for Amelia she feared the worst. She did not know us. She did not know love. “Perfect love drives out fear” writes John (1 John 4:18), and I wonder what kind of Gottesbild I have. Has His perfect love cast out my fear?
Gerald A. Klingbeil is an associate editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published November 12, 2009.