When Tom and I adopted Axel, I was determined that he was going to “attach” to both of us equally. Or . . . maybe me a little bit more! 🙂 Nevertheless, we both wanted to be really intentional about his bonding with each of us, our respective homes, etc. We set up a nice “joint custody” arrangement. I was naive to think that things were relatively equal.
That came to an abrupt end when Tom was training for his triathlon. While he’d complete long swims I would kayak with him.
One day, we put Axel’s life jacket on him and assumed he’d just sit on the dock while we went back and forth in the cove. Axel is terrified of the water so we weren’t really afraid he’d jump in. And he’s also terrified of a billion other things, so there was no real danger he’d run away.
What we didn’t count on was how much he loved Tom.
As we were nearing the end of the cove I looked back to make sure Axel was ok on the dock.
There was no Axel.
I looked in the water, no swimming dog. I kayaked back as quickly as I could to see if for some reason he’d run up to the house. Still – no Axel.
Panic was setting in because Axel seemed to be missing. Then, all of a sudden, five houses down I noticed a neon yellow flash across the yard. It was Axel, running down to the neighbor’s dock. In just a few more seconds Axel was completely down on the dock, standing at the edge, waiting excitedly as Tom approached in the water.
Despite my best efforts to coax Axel back to Tom’s dock, he would only leave an area once Tom was out of the general vicinity.
In fact, as Tom would swim through the cove, Axel would run with him, dock by dock, hanging out on each neighbor’s dock until Tom would swim past.
He could have stayed at the home dock with me. But no . . . his love for Tom was so intense that he was willing to overcome his fears and journey from dock to dock, completely uncharted territory, for the complete hour Tom swam.
The way Axel loves Tom is a powerful reminder of the way God loves us. It is a relentless, loyal love. A love that is willing to go through anything for us. In fact, when I see how much Axel loves Tom, I’m reminded that God’s love for all humanity is infinitely more. Aren’t we lucky beyond measure?