Periwrinkle Rudy’s Blue Angel is his AKC full name. “Peri” for short. He came into our family 9 years ago this week. He was named after his older brother, a fawn Shar-Pei named Rudy. Peri and Rudy never met because Rudy died 7 years prior. Nonetheless in 2011, it was time to get another Shar-Pei, our family’s third over a 25 year span. Peri is considered a blue on the AKC color pallette, however he’s more like a periwinkle. Combine that with his wrinkles and you get Periwrinkle.
The Shar-Pei is an ancient breed originating in China and bred for guarding and farm work. Peri’s temperament is loyal, independent and calm. He is steadfastly loyal to our family, but standoffish with strangers, which makes him a great guardian. Peri is always on patrol and ready to protect.
As we celebrated Peri’s 9th birthday and reflected on his dutifully firm and unwavering character, I was struck by the parallel to my role as a father and husband and the need to protect myself and my family in the daily spiritual battle. The minute I become complacent, we become vulnerable.
Every morning, we wake up to a war, the war over our mind and hearts. The war over our thoughts and actions. The danger is neither ahead or behind, but within. It’s a force that fights against the Holy Spirit, which is at work for our good. At work and home, in public and private, this enemy is always with us. It has a position of leverage over our spirit.
The enemy has also proven it has considerable strength. It’s taken down the mightiest of humans over the course of history. It seems to always be able to recharge its batteries and live to fight another day. It continually looks for those moments of pride and complacency when we let our guard down, which is why we too must rest and recharge to stay strong on the battlefield.
The enemy’s stamina is world-class, both literally and figuratively. It’s energy is sustained in, of and by the world. Without a secular worldview culture, it has no power.
Therefore, as I reflect on the men and women stronger than me whom this enemy has successfully defeated, humility is the only sane response. Better to face my foe trembling and dismayed than to face him proud. Better to not think of myself as above reproach and perpetually stand guard, than to fancy myself strong in my own strength. For in this spiritual battle, as in everything else, pride comes before a fall.
Therefore, I will walk humbly for my sake and the sake of my family, who, like Peri, I must protect. I will pray to God every morning to “lead me not into temptation” and “be on my guard.” I realize the safest soldiers on the battlefield are the humbest ones: those who feel deep down that without God they can win no war, yet with him, every war will be won.
Peri, I am so grateful for you, your loyalty to our family and the model you set. You are steadfastly purposeful with the time that is given you. There are a lot of things in your life you have no control over, however while you can’t control those circumstances, you choose how to you’ll respond and that makes all the difference.
What a wonderful Father’s Day gift. Thank you, Peri.
To all the dads reading this, Happy Father’s Day!