Walking at a Dog-determined Pace


IMG_3776For about an hour each day, my old dog determines the pace for my life. She takes me along for “her” walk, and makes me slow down whether I like it or not.

You see, at 14 years, my dog, Dandy, is almost completely blind and deaf. She moves slowly, even dragging her feet at times. I think her loss of vision and hearing has heightened her sense of smell because she stops to sniff EVERYTHING.

Well, friends, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for stopping to smell the roses, but you know there’s just some days when the world is tugging at you to hurry along. There’s so much to be done and only so many hours in the day. My mind gets set on prioritizing tasks and crossing errands off my list.

IMG_4141I want to pull this dog along, but she keeps her stubborn nose to the ground and will not allow it. Then, just as willfully, she decides the walk is over, plants her butt on the sidewalk and simply refuses to go any further. Yes, backwards as it may seem, I am at the mercy of this old dog’s commands. Not such a bad thing…

Yesterday as we wandered, I recalled the Bible story of two sisters, Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). On the way to Jerusalem with his disciples, Jesus was welcomed into Martha’s home. Martha, undoubtedly excited, soon became overwhelmingly busy and distracted while preparing a special dinner for her guest. Meanwhile, her sister Mary, who was also there, sat still at Jesus’ feet listening to what he had to say.Image from page 246 of "When the King came; stories from the four Gospels" (1904)

Well, as you might imagine, it did not take long for Martha to become annoyed. Martha thought it was unfair that Mary was just sitting there, letting her do all the work and she told Jesus as much.

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41 New Living Translation (NLV)

Both sisters certainly loved Jesus and both aimed to please their guest. Martha, however, was so intent on her plans to celebrate her guest that she forgot to actually spend time enjoying his company. Mary gave Jesus her undivided attention, soaking up his wisdom and humbled by his visit. Jesus was not angry with Martha, but gently reminded her to consider her priorities.

“Oh geez,” I thought as I loosened my grip on Dandy’s leash, “today, my DOG is Mary and I am Martha.” She is taking her sweet time to smell this great big world, and I am annoyed because she is not helping me quickly get this task off my list.

Spring is the season of long lists. We get excited to welcome the changes warmer temperatures bring. There are house projects, outdoor activities, proms, graduations, summer vacations, and holidays to plan.

Easter arrives this weekend and people are busy, busy, busy. Like Martha, they are intent on the perfect preparation for Sunday’s celebration. There are Easter clothes to buy, freshly press, and photograph. There are eggs to dye and hide. There are brunch reservations and dinners to plan. And, let’s not forget to mention there is candy, oh yes, there is candy to eat.Easter Eggs

With so many details to attend to, how easy it is to forget to be like Mary. We get caught up in holiday pageantry instead of resting in the meaning of this day – the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, signifying eternal life for all who place their faith in him.

IMG_4094I don’t know about you, but I need little reminders of Mary and Martha now and then, especially in the spring. My dog’s pace tells me to slow down and take the world in. When she stops, I do too. Like Mary, I can rest for awhile and soak up the beauty around me.

People say it’s no coincidence that dog is God spelled backwards – that they have a lot in common. I suppose that’s because dogs love us unconditionally. But, I propose it is also because they both teach us to relax, breathe in the moments, and enjoy whoever stops by for a visit.

I walk at a dog-determined pace. I am trying to live at a God-determined pace. Some days God’s wisdom comes to me. Other days, I am simply humbled by his company…

Prayer for this Week

Dear Lord,

Thank you for little reminders to slow down and focus on what is truly important. Help me sit still at your feet and keep me intent on your teachings. Open my eyes to your blessings that completely surround me. Flood my heart with your love, and instruct me in your ways of giving that love away. When I wander off track, as I certainly will, call to me and I will listen for you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Inspiring Resources:

The song “Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave right here.