Dads, Dogs, and the Unbending Law of the Universe — Part 2

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By Chuck Souder

This is the second of a 2-part series on unbending laws. 

Two weeks ago, as I was on “puppy duty,” the phone rang.  Let me begin by saying that it was a good thing that I was sitting down.

It was my dad, and his phone call was significant for at least two reasons.

First, it marked the only time in the whole history of the world that my dad had called to ask my advice about anything, much less about a home repair.

You see, before he retired, my dad was a contractor.  I’d seen him (and his small crew) build houses from the ground up with his bare hands.  Framing, plumbing, electrical, roofing, painting, concrete—you name it, he did it all.

Therefore, when something at our house needs to be fixed, and if my wife can’t do it, we call my dad.  So it was without precedent when he called to ask my advice about adding an extension to his washing-machine hose.

I had just (miraculously) successfully performed this task myself a couple of weeks earlier, and now he was doing the same thing and wanted to learn from me!  This was (and is) totally amazing to me and leads to the second reason the phone call was significant.

Because of the surprising nature of dad’s phone call, I momentarily took my attention off of the puppy.  And though it was only for a few seconds, it was enough.

After the initial shock of dad’s request wore off, I turned my eyes back to the puppy.  He looked at me, wagged his tail and cocked his head to one side, trying to look as irresistibly cute he could.

Now I hope you don’t think less of me, but it is altogether possible that his cuteness saved his life that day, because as I quickly scanned the room to see where he had been, I saw it.  There, on the rug in front of the kitchen sink, was what looked like a short bead of light brown toothpaste.  It wasn’t.

The irony of this happening as I spoke with my dad was not lost.  The Unbending Law had exacted its price. 

As I sheepishly told my dad what had happened, he was kind and quickly excused himself from the call, so that I could attend to the “business” at hand.  But I know that in his heart he had to wonder where he went wrong, how his son could have been so brazenas to flaunt The Unbending Law.

OK.  I realize that not everyone will agree that “people inside, animals outside” is truly an “unbending law of the universe.”  But in my experience, I have found that there are indeed such laws.

There are physical laws, like gravity, that are true whether you believe them or not. There are financial laws, like not spending more than you make, that one ignores at their peril.

And in the same way, there are moral laws that are true whether one believes them or not.  These laws are, indeed, unbendable; their wisdom (and consequences) is real whether or not one acknowledges them.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or atheist; the Laws of the universe equally apply. 

But let’s be real.  The truth is that sometimes we all disregard these laws just as I did the strong advice that my dad gave me concerning dogs.

We believe that we’re smart enough that the laws don’t apply to us, or that we can somehow get around their consequences.  And we often do for a time.

But let me assure you, your bead of brown toothpaste is coming.  It may not be today, or this month, or even this year.  The Lawgiver is merciful, but He is also just; the Unbending Laws of the Universe will not be mocked.  

Now, before I receive hate mail from all of the “inside dog” lovers out there, let me say that we are trying.  And trying.  And trying.  And trying.

Hopefully the dog will figure the whole “house training” thing out before his cuteness wears off or our patience wears out.  I’ll keep you posted.

But, in retrospect, we now realize that some laws were not made to be broken, and that sometimes fathers really do know best. 


Chuck Souder is on staff at Shelby Christian Church.  If you have questions or comments for Chuck, he can be reached at csouder@shelbychristian.org