I have a chocolate lab named Tess. We love her and she is madly devoted to us. She is a sweet dog that has moments of brilliance, but for the most part is not that bright. For example, often times when open the back door to let her outside, she will walk onto the patio, then turn around and come right back into the house - even when I know she needs to "go potty" (yes, we talk to our dog like she is our forever-toddler.)
This morning was no different. She hadn't been out since last night so I knew she needed to go. I opened the back door. She walked onto the porch, then immediately turned around and stared up at me, tail wagging. She would have come back inside but I was still standing at the door.
Finally, I just walked away from dumb dog on the porch and the open door, fully expecting her to follow me inside.
But she didn't.
She stood there for a minute and stared through the open door. Then she turned around and ran out the to grass. Soon after she came running back inside and straight to me as if to say, "I did it! Are you proud of me?"
I looked at my dumb dog then back at the open door. Then it hit me.
Tess knew was she needed to do. But it was only when the door was left open - not closed to her- that she went to do it. When she knew there was a way back in the house she felt she could go.
I realized then that Tess wasn't so dumb. In fact, she is a lot like us.
We used to live in this beautiful place with our heavenly family. It was our home. We loved our Heavenly Father, and he loved us. He loved us so much that He created this earth for us so that we could learn and grow. We don't remember that life before. That was purposeful, so that we might be able to develop faith in this life.
So, here we are, in this sometimes very cold, world. Just like Tess, we sometimes find ourselves staring back home and not wanting to budge. It's scary down here. It's hard down here. I am hurting. I feel alone.
Luckily (although it isn't really luck) the door has been left open for us.
Life can be hard and scary. And sometimes we just want to feel safe - feel peace - like we did when we were "home." But take heart. The door is open. There is a way home.
The Savior has opened the door, through His Atonement. And He has shown us the way back home. So let's have courage in tough times, and faith in the night. Let's find joy in our imperfections and strive to be more. Let's love and serve others while loving ourselves. Let's learn of His commandments, and follow Him. Let's be like Paul and "fight the good fight."
The door is open. We can go about our work here with faith and confidence. We will never be left out. We will never be lost. We will be forgotten. There is a way home.
As I type this, Tess is lying on the floor at my feet. Her tail is gently thumping in peaceful contentment. She is home.
No, she isn't so dumb after all.