Deanne has a dog; her name is Joy. Deanne loves Joy with her whole heart. Joy loves Deanne just as much.
Deanne knows that Joy loves chewing on bones. After some time, Deanne learns which bones are her favorite. Deanne makes sure to have those on hand often.
One day, Deanne is inspired with an idea. She is excited and intrigued. “Can I teach Joy a new trick?” she asks herself. She devises an experiment to find out.
Deanne constructs a special kind of box. The box has a door, which can be opened with a lever. “Let’s see if Joy can figure out how to open the box,” she says to herself that day.
Deanne places the box on the floor, and places Joy’s favorite kind of bone inside of the box. She shuts the door and then watches what happens.
Joy, smelling the bone, watches Deanne’s every move. She sees Deanne place the bone inside of the box. As soon as Deanne steps aside, Joy sniffs around the box. She cannot see the bone, but she knows the bone is inside. Being a dog, Joy trusts her nose more than her eyes.
After sniffing around the entire box, and not finding a way inside, Joy begins scratching at the box. The aroma is stronger near the door, so she focuses there. She so wants that bone, she works at the box tirelessly.
Soon enough, Joy finds the lever. Maybe it was by accident, regardless, she depresses the lever and the door comes loose. The first time, her weight on the lever shuts the door right after it opens, but in that moment, the aroma wafted and this encourages her further.
After a few more attempts, Joy figures out how to depress the lever and then pull her weight back to keep the door from closing. With her nose, she is then able to fully open the door and get to her precious bone.
“What a success!” Deanne exclaims. “My Joy is so smart!”
Over the next few weeks, Deanne repeats the experiment often. Each time, Joy is able to get to the bone more quickly than before…so quickly, in fact, Deanne soon grows bored of the experiment. “Where should I go from here?” Deanne thinks.
After her morning mediation one day, Deanne is inspired with a new idea. She thus constructs a second box. After it is complete, she places Joy in the bedroom and closes the door. She grabs a new bone, places it in the second box, and places the second box on the other side of the kitchen. She then lets Joy out of the bedroom.
While in the bedroom, Joy’s excitement grows. She can smell the bone all the way across the house. She knows Deanne pulled out a bone and she anticipates the having of it.
Once Deanne opens the door, Joy runs across the house to the first box, which is where it has been since the first day. Without really consulting her sense of smell, she opens the door. She sniffs inside of box, but the aroma is weak—and there is no bone inside.
Her confusion doesn’t last very long. She can still smell a bone, but less so inside of the box than outside of it. She circles the box, but the aroma is not strong there. She sniffs the air and discerns the direction. It doesn’t take Joy long to find the second box, to open the second door, and to find her beloved bone inside.
* * *
Clearly, this is a metaphor. So, what are your thoughts about it? What is the box? What is the bone? Are you Deanne or are you Joy? If you are Joy, would you find the bone as quickly as she did?
What if you’ve been finding your beloved treat in the same box for decades, then suddenly it’s not there any longer? How quickly would you look for a new box?
What if your sense of smell was much weaker than Joy’s? What if you could not trust your nose more than your eyes? What if your nose only gave you a twinge of where that bone might be?
Your treat is no longer in that box and as far as you can tell, it won’t be. Now what? You look around and see a number of other boxes. Some have been there for a long time. Some are new. What are you going to do now? Will you sniff around all of them before opening one up? Or will you just start opening doors to see what you find?