Begging for Waffle Fries

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." -James 1:17

“Want to go for a ride Ranger?”

This question, when posed with the right leash in hand, sends our dog Ranger into a frenzy of happiness; repeated strained howls coupled with short jumps like a prancing pony. It's a fun sight to behold (one you can watch below on video). Once the leash is on, Ranger’s mission becomes singular; get into the car. Like Lebron James set on getting to the hoop, nothing will stop Ranger from getting into the car. The whole process is really quite adorable.

Ranger loves going for rides. I normally only take him with me on quick errands like picking up takeout food, a redbox film, or a quick run into Walgreens. He always happily sits in the passenger seat. He is either sitting straight up like a royal dog standing at attention as he watches the scenery with joy or as he’s standing with his head jutted out of the window taking in the wind, the sights, and the occasional exciting glimpse of another dog.  Either way, he always wears a gigantic smile at the seemingly unending amount of pleasures to be had in the journey. It also brings me great pleasure to see him enjoying it all so much.

One day we made a quick trip to Chick-fil-A to get some food in the drive-thru. I ordered and picked up the food in the drive-thru like always do, Hungry, I decided to eat a few fries on the drive back. Ranger, sitting regally watching the road, turned his face and nose to me. It was clear he caught wind of the perfectly cooked waffle fries I was consuming. Do dogs like waffle fries?

Curious, I gave a fry to Ranger. He guardedly took it from my hand, never having tasted a waffle fry before. He licked it a couple times and then cautiously began to eat it. Once finished, he went back to inhaling the wind and sights outside the car. I guess he liked it. On return trips to get takeout food, Ranger began to take notice of the food not when I was sneaking a fry, but as soon as I brought the bag of food into the car. Once the smell hit him, he began looking at me as if to say, “Hey Kyle, hows about one of dem fries again, eh? That was pretty good last time.” Sometimes I gave him a fry, most times I ignored him, or sternly told him "No!"

How could you say  "No" to this face?

Despite sharing only a couple of times over many trips, things have changed. Ranger still rides with me on quick trips, enjoying the endless sights, sounds, and wind on the way to get takeout; but the trip back is nothing like it used to be. Once Ranger smells food in the car, he spends the rest of the trip asking for food with a big stare while the sights, sounds, and wind that used to bring him such great pleasure go speeding by as if they don't exist. How could he forget about the countless great things currently passing by him that he enjoyed just seconds ago in order to beg for something small he probably won't get? Why forfeit it all...for a waffle fry?

I'm no different it seems. I also have a tough time balancing my pursuit of pleasures. How often have I tasted of a good pleasure only to pursue it at the expense of everything else I once found pleasurable? I wonder how often I’m the one sitting there in the passenger seat staring at God, hoping and praying for a waffle fry (relatively speaking) while all the good gifts he has given me just pass me by? If it hurts me to watch Ranger make the mistake, how much more does it hurt God?