El HaNe'eman

Every day when I opened the front door of my home—my dog loved me. With the slamming of a car door and the clap of a latch, she knew who had come home. Lucy rushed to greet us from her soft, supple cove on the couch; she would prance and dance about my feet, jumping and wagging furiously to express her happiness; her voice would wine pitifully and heartily for one reason: her boy was home.

Sometimes I held groceries in my arms, true, and on such occasions she tended to spend less time jumping for my arms and more time jumping for the bags in my arms (to help carry them for me, no doubt). But most of the time, almost every time that I entered her Highness's kingdom, I held nothing but my book-laden backpack. And my viola. And my swim bag.

Whenever I came in bundled and bound by my many bags, she would wait for me; she didn't lose interest in me, didn't scamper for her cozy bed on the couch out of impatience. As long as I was able to know her, she was utterly faithful to me.

Fondly, I recall sprawling on the floor next to her still, quiet form while I attacked my homework late at night; she was the only one who would stay up with me while I worked after my parents and brother all disappeared to their rest. And as we lay there, she would scoot herself frame against my side and sigh contentedly, her snout nosing up to my hand as a subtle reminder that she awaited my scratching fingers behind her ears—but she never pushed for it, rather waiting patiently for me to rub her head affectionately when I had finished with the most stressful load.

Watching my every move, she would follow me as I distributed laundry around the house to all the closets and drawers. The sweetest part was how she would follow me no matter how comfortable she had just made herself in mom's bed (right in the middle of the just-clean bed sheets), in the closet under the low-hung clothes, or on the rug in the entryway.

And now she's gone.

We don't hear her tinkling, jingling collar as she sneaks and sniffs about the house for any loose food anymore. As I walk into the house, I hear only the silence left. As I walk in, I smell the clean smell of a fresh, sterile house.

Every day when I open the front door of my home—I love my dog.

The creator (Elohim) of the universe loves me like a dog—or more accurately, I think now with reverence back on Lucy and how she loved me like God.

Deuteronomy 7:9 describes God as El HaNe'eman: The Faithful God.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
— Deuteronomy 7:9

Semper fidelis: "ever faithful". Marines mirror the mantra of God, humans made in His image living in one of the most complex forms of preservation known to the human psyche, sacrificing the team for the person in a code that never leaves a man behind, never gives up.

God always chases after us in our lives. He is felt when I lay crushed beneath despair, and felt in the wonderful celebrations after overcoming adversity. Whenever time grow tough, He doesn't leave me alone, but stands by my side as a silent strength. He doesn't fight my battles for me—He makes me better by giving me the strength to fight for myself.

Always there, during the good and the bad, God is faithful.

I'm not—But I'm trying.