Early Morning Lessons from a Labradoodle

photo by banksnash.com

photo by banksnash.com

 

I have a side-kick. His name is Nate. He is a one-hundred pound yellow Labradoodle that’s been around for a while now, nine years in fact. Most days morning calls as he comes to my bedside, his collar in his mouth, which is his way of screaming at me, “Let’s go on a walk!” Other than any crumb of food he can find, this is the most exciting and thrilling part of Nate’s life. The daily walk. As we leave the house he leaps, he bounds and runs in circles around me as if to say, “Oh thank you, thank you! You are the best master ever!” He runs around each mailbox, sniffs at every tree and greets every neighbor. If you have a dog then you’ll agree that “the walk” in doggie world is pure heaven.

One cool spring morning we were headed out. After the first mile of our 2 mile walk Nate’s pace slowed significantly. He went from a fast paced trot to a meandering stroll and nothing I could do would speed him up. Very frustrated I began to wonder if something was the matter. Was he hurt? I didn’t think so because it seemed as if was if he was protecting me. He walked very close and kept looking right and left like a bodyguard. Was something out there that he sensed might threaten us? I pushed to get our normal pace back but couldn’t seem to motivate him. After a couple of blocks of this senseless meander I stopped. I sat him down to talk, reassure him and attempt to figure out his plight. Then I realized Nate’s dilemma. Tucked back in his mouth I found a small bone he had discovered somewhere along the way in a ditch to be taken home and enjoyed. He carried it the entire second mile of our walk. He continued very slowly and fearfully looking over his shoulder protecting his nasty treasure instead of being his usual "just happy to be on a walk" self. What normally was the most satisfying part of Nate’s day was hijacked by something he wanted more. He made a sacrifice. He missed so much of the walk in his obsession. He missed the sights, sounds, smells and freedom of the outing.

How often do I miss the joy of the journey when I, like Nate, am bound by the illusion of a perceived treasure? We are misguided when we believe that the getting life brings the more joy and happiness than the giving life.

Here we see life as God intended it to be:

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” Matthew 16:25 (NLT)

Until, we believe and live as if we have everything we need from our Provider we will never be able to walk the path unguarded. Like Nate, we will live in constant fear, shoring up whatever we think we need for the happy life. Step out to give of yourself in freedom and taste the simple but most fulfilling of joys of just being on the walk.

We leap, we bound, following after our Master in freedom. This is a taste of heaven. We experience heaven on earth when we realize that He is a good, good Father and He longs to be gracious to us.


Prayer:  “God, may I  freely walk today not bound by my own illusion of earthly treasures. Give me eyes to see, pursue and treasure what you treasure.”