Tonight we watched “Hatchi: A Dog’s Tale,” based on a true story of an Akita that waited for his master nightly at the train station. You’ve probably heard it: one day, the dog’s best friend did not return (passed away). Hatchi continued to appear every evening to wait—for nine years.
Setting aside cynical scenarios (such as the pooch just showing up for the hot dog vendor), I like this bit of inspiration. How many of us are like Hatchi: we wait for that unique individual we were so sure would be our pal always. And, like the forlorn, furry friend, we have no clue why our loved one doesn’t return.
But we wait.
That’s called loyalty: a rare commodity these days. Being true blue requires sacrifice—not just once, but over and over—for decades. Loyalty isn’t fazed by sudden surprises, heady heartbreaks, or mucky misunderstandings. It’s faithfulness to forgive failures; devotion that doesn’t dump you; allegiance amidst anything. It’s an Akita, waiting for hours at the train station, for 4,000 days.
Near the end of the movie, there wasn’t a dry eye in our family room. My mind went to God—who forgave my sins and welcomes me every time I want to fellowship with Him—and to my parents, and to old friends—who spent many long years waiting for me. One by one, I’ve come around.
Sadly, I can’t say every one of my beloveds showed the wherewithal of Hatchi. (Dogs are a different breed.) True, some of my lost pals didn’t exactly “wag their tail” and come running. I’m sure they have their reasons. Surely, a bond of love wasn’t there to begin with. Their loyalties lie elsewhere. This stuff is the pain of life that leads to strength and maturity. (I guess.)
Thankfully, those are few. On the other hand, I rejoice over the numbers of other dear ones who welcomed me back into their fold. In this, they emulate their heavenly Father, pictured in the story of the prodigal: ……While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him.