Archives For Mick

on a leadI know the way…

When out for a leisurely walk, or for a morning run with Mick, there would come a point in the route where he would want to take the lead and would pull with nearly all his might to take me in the way he wanted to go. This wasn’t just the straining at the lead that many puppies do – some adult dogs, too – no, this was a more determined attempt to persuade me to stray from our “appointed rounds”.

On occasion, I would allow him to lead for a short time until we were so off course that it would require more time to get back on course then we had allotted or until he discovered that it wasn’t really the way he thought it was – whichever came first. The interesting aspect of these course changes was that once back on course and headed in the proper direction, he would relax and fall into stride until we arrived back home.

Don’t we tend to fall into that same trap? We’re off on a certain course in life when, for whatever reason, we think we know better when it comes to our life’s direction than the One who started us off on our journey in the first place. And just as it was with Mick, we strain and pull and jerk around until our Master allows us to go in the direction we wish to follow – though he knows it could result in disaster.

Now not every deviation from the course set before us is a disaster, some work out just fine, others were probably figured in to the original plan for our lives even though they are a surprise to us. The key, as also with Mick, is to either realign our destination to include these new “side ventures” or determine how to get back to the course that was laid before us.

I used to tell my children that life is like driving on a 6-8-lane highway. There’s a lot of space between the shoulders of the road, but there are shoulders. They didn’t like the fact that there were boundaries, at least at the time. And it was one of the difficult parts of parenting to help them see how much freedom there was between the “shoulders” but there were consequences of going too near those shoulders.

On this path we call life, there are many ways to get to the destination. You may like to drive down the median, others are “shoulder-huggers”. Some like the HOV lanes, while others like to stay in the center lane on their side of the highway. The options are nearly endless.

So when you find that the path you chose has led you to a place you wish you hadn’t gone (because you knew better than the One on the other end of the lead), you might give control back to the One who can see farther into the future than you. Just an idea.

In what way can you return control of your lead to the One who started you on the journey?

Ready to go

Back to part 4 in this series about our previous dog, Mick. He was a Beagle/Foxhound mix, kind of a Beagle with a longer snout and taller legs. One of the things I liked best about Mick was that he was nearly always ready to go!

If I picked up my keys, he ran to the door thinking he was going with me. It didn’t matter if I was headed to the bank, to the store, wherever – he wanted to go! So he grew to enjoy riding in my little white pick-up truck with his head hanging out of the passenger-side window.

Don’t you wish we were more that way? Do you remember how exciting it was to go with your dad or mom to the grocery store or to run errands? Somewhere along the way we can lose that excitement to just hang out with those we love.dog_car window

My father used to take me along with him for his every-other-week haircut at the local barber shop. It was located on the second floor of this unique building near the center of our town. On the same floor, but at the opposite end, was a shop that sold nuts and candy. They actually roasted peanuts right there in the store!

Ah, the smell of roasting peanuts mingled with the fragrance of that cheap after shave the barbers used on the men after their haircut, because they shaved around their ears. I can almost smell that peculiar mixing of fragrances now.

I would be so excited that he, my dad, wanted me to go with him – more likely my mom just wanted me out of the house. Mick’s reaction to “being chosen” to go for a ride often reminded me of those simpler days of riding with my dad.

How can we regain that excitement for the simple things in life again?

Mick 2

Wait a Minute

Our 3rd installment of life lessons learned from our dog, Mick, has to do once again as we were out on walks. I, being the leader (bigger, stronger, operator of the leash), had a plan on where we were going and the route we were to take. I also had an idea of the speed at which we would walk, run, or jog depending on what I wanted to accomplish during that time.

Mick had his own idea of what we were doing out there! He would walk or jog along with me as if to say, “Yeah, you’re the boss. You’re the one who feeds me.” But inevitably, somewhere along the way he would decide to stop to check out a smell like he had never smelled that smell before. No amount of me tugging on the leash could cause him to sway from his task of smelling whatever smell he was locked on to – until he decided he had smelled it enough!

There was no one attached to the other end of the leash, in those moments. Everything else in the world melted away to nothingness while he was fixated on that particular smell, in that particular spot.

As I’ve looked back on my own life and the lives of those I’ve had the privilege to know over the years I find that same trait continuing to arise – especially when it comes to our spiritual walk with God. We start out knowing and understanding that he’s fully in control and that we can rely on that control.

But as we continue that journey, something within changes. Just as our dog, Mick, used to jog along with me up to a certain point, but then would perform an all-4-foot stop & become rigid on me, we often do a similar thing with God. I don’t know if we truly understand what happened within. For some it took a while to get to that stopping point, for others it just happened – whatever the reason we stopped the walk.

Now, with Mick, eventually I could coerce him to start the walk again – but it was on his time, not mine. And for those of you who have stopped on that walk with God, let me encourage you to start again, to try again. That doesn’t mean it will be perfect in every way, but just start again.

Don’t allow your “wait a minute” to become a stopping point. He’s willing to walk with you if you’ll just start again. And once again, you’ll be glad you did.

Mick 1A few years ago I had considered writing a book about the exploits and things learned from our dog, Mick. He was a rescue dog. In fact, we were able to bring him home from “death row” at the shelter where he was being housed.

When he and I were both younger, we would go on early morning runs together – something we both enjoyed. As the years went by our daily runs became daily walks and when he became increasingly weak those daily walks turned into “once-every-so-often” walks. But we both continued to enjoy them just the same.

Over the years together I learned that we had a lot more in common than I earlier had thought. Over the next six weeks I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I learned from/with Mick. So here’s the first installment.

1 – Though on a lead, he often wanted to go his own way.

As I would put on my running shoes and gather up his lead Mick would grow more excited. We would connect, head out the door and begin our morning run. Everything would go great until he decided that he was no longer tethered to me by the aforementioned lead. Wanting to go his own way, he would begin to dart in that direction until the lead went taut. He would cough and catch his breath as I would try to recover from being nearly pulled/knocked off my feet.

It only took a few of those moments for me to realize that we humans are very similar in the way we do things. We’re running along, hand-in-hand with our Creator, enjoying life and the run when for some reason we think we know better and decide to run off in a different direction.

Unfortunately, it usually takes us a bit longer to realize that we’ve gone “off course” than it did Mick. And rather than just cough and wheeze a bit we suffer more severe consequences for choosing our own way. Some never get back “on course.”

So why is that? Why is it that we often get distracted from the “way in which we should go” to follow after something completely different and off course? Part of the answer lies in the fact that to a certain point we are strong-willed and bent on doing what we desire. Fleetwood Mac sang a song about it years ago – “You can go your own way. . .”

We want to do things our own way and go our own way. Even if that means disaster, we often choose to do it anyhow. It reminds me of a stubborn two-year-old who really doesn’t know any better as they exclaim, “No, I want to do it myself!”

Let’s learn from our previous mistakes and the mistakes of others. Let’s not be so prone to being stubborn, but rather follow the lead of the master.

How can you do that today?