I couldn’t find Ellie last night.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to lose a 45-pound border collie, even in the house.

It doesn’t help that she’s a bit of a stealth dog; sometimes, I’ll call for her, then turn around and find that she’s standing right behind me. She usually looks at me reproachfully like, “There’s no reason to shout, I’m already here.”

It also doesn’t help that she’s too smart; she won’t come running unless she’s convinced it’s worth it. Last week I dropped a pretzel on the kitchen floor, and I called her to come and eat it. (Because that’s what dogs are for, to clean up after spills.) She took her own sweet time uncurling herself, jumping down from the couch, wandering into the kitchen—and then took one look at the pretzel and glared at me. “That’s what you called me in here for? You couldn’t drop something with cheese in it? A meat-based product, perhaps?” I actually picked up the pretzel and offered it to her; she took it gingerly and then spit it out in disgust and flounced back to the couch.

So last night, when I finished brushing my teeth and realized she wasn’t flopped on the bathroom rug like usual, I said, “Ellie, where’d you go?” and I was not at all surprised that she didn’t appear at once. I checked all her spots: on the bed, first, then on the couch, under the desk, by the back door. I even went back into the bedroom and got down and looked under the bed, but she was nowhere to be found. Then I turned around and saw her stretched out in the closet, watching me calmly. Probably amused at the spectacle of me searching everywhere else when she’d been right there the whole time.

Somehow this made me think about us searching for God. Not that God hides from us, or laughs when we can’t find him—but maybe, sometimes, we try so hard to go out and find God that we forget that God has been there with us the whole time.

I’m still mulling over what this means, exactly. For today, though, I’m remembering that God is already here with us.

And I’m keeping a close eye on Ellie, just in case.

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