“A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.” Ogden Nash, American poet
I once knew a couple who were clever in ways that made their very presence a delight — even if their skills didn’t bring much cash to their bank accounts.
They milked a small herd of goats to make silky bars of soap. They ran a small inn in a house they resurrected from the dead. They drove a small section of a school bus run in their car because no actual bus could have made it into their narrow valley. They made pottery in a small kiln fired by free natural gas harvested from beneath their own farm.
And — no small thing, really — they taught their border collies to let themselves in and out of the kitchen without assistance.
No pricey doggie door needed. At one end of the kitchen, there was simply an old screened door — the wooden kind, with broad stretches of blackened mesh at the top and the bottom — and a hinge that swung both ways. Where there would normally have been a handle meant for humans, there was a small rope. A knot of rope hung on one side of the door. Another knot was on the other side.
The three amigos, clever herding dogs that they were, knew to grab a knot in their mouths and pull the door open. They then shot in or out of the kitchen, at their pleasure, as a group.
One day, visiting that kitchen to write a story about the goats, the dogs displayed their joy at having company by going in and out, in and out every couple of minutes. They were proud of their skill. It probably didn’t hurt that I laughed like an idiot every time they rushed into the kitchen and swarmed around my feet for a pet.
The dogs, like their people, were a joy — in all their small and quirky ways. They are not alone, of course. Other people can be like that. Some people, in fact, were meant to be like that. It’s how God made them.
It’s true. Not everyone in this world is meant to be a Wall Street broker or a legislator or a brain surgeon or a football star. Not everyone is meant to be big.
Some of us are meant to make beautiful things or cook wonderful things. Some are meant to write things that resonate deep in the soul or to lift another’s heart with music. Or to teach all these ways to a new generation.
Such people are not the meat and potatoes (or the tofu and kale) of this world — the ones that keep many things humming. The dog-training, art-making, blog-writing quirky ones are the tarragon and mint and coriander. Difficult to see at times — in relative smallness — but full of the flavor and joy of life.
So, if God has called you to small and quirky, don’t despair. Simply look for the door that is your door. There is surely a knot waiting there — and you will know just what to do. This knowledge is wired right into your soul.