Sunday, October 28, 2007

Old Dog, New Tricks

Friday was a tough day for Tasha. As cheered as she was about 2 Red Sox victories, she woke up very shaky. Hunched and off-balance, she looked her age.

When she's shaky like this (which is seldom), we find it helps to force her to walk. There's a condition in geriatric canines involving the inner ear that can throw their balance off. Being a hysterical sort, if Tasha feels uncertain on her feet, she tends to cower. So I chucked a couple of dog biscuits in my pocket and lured her down the driveway. She lurched after me, looking shaky the whole way.

Uh-oh, I thought. Maybe this is the beginning of that final decline.

She had a nap and then I took her into the woods. She was limping and hunched so I just walked way ahead of her, not trying to get her to keep up. I took the usual right turn to the stream, thinking I'd get to my favorite patch of woods, turn around, and get back to the main path before she even made it to the turn.

I'm coming back when I see her run by the turn-off. Run, mind you. I yell but of course, she can't hear me. So I had to run after her until I'm close enough so she can hear me screaming at her. She turns around, ears perked as if to say, "Hey, there you are!"

The thing was...on Thursday we had gone straight, instead of taking the turn for the stream. We do this once in every fifty or so trips. Tasha astounded me by supplanting habit with the unusual and seldom-trodden.

Yesterday was what Tasha thought would be a happy day because we had a houseful of people. To her consternation, there were no kids. No kids meant no food dropped. Finally, I took pity on her and gave her a plate of scraps for supper. Though we still had guests, I needed to walk her immediately after because...well, this is what you do with an old dog if you don't want accidents. I grabbed another chunk of sausage bread as a lure, excused myself, and went into the woods...showing her the treat so she'd follow.

Our usual habit is, she gets the treat partway up the path, and then continues after me. (One never knows what might be in my pocket!) So I dropped the sausage bread and kept walking. I turned around to see her gulp the bread and then practically piroutte in mid-air so she could race back to the house.

It amazes me how Tasha broke two deeply-ingrained habits to go after something she thought to be better. In the case of not turning down the path to the stream, going the way less trod is always more fun. And racing back to the party was the smart thing to do because there was still the hope of someone dropping food!

It amazes me how I don't break deeply-ingrained habits, even when I know something is better. I'm doing radio interviews right now to promote VANISHED. One of my talking points is that a Christian prepares for possible disaster by walking closely with Christ. Daily. I know that in glorious theory and I've had more robust devotionals in the past but right now, it's hard to break out of the habits that have arisen to reduce my devotional time.

Continuing on this path is a dumb thing. Like Tasha, I should look for opportunities to race towards something better.


Bonnie Calhoun said...

I too am on that path *sigh*. My time gets fuller and fuller, and I catch myself rushing to get thru the verses.

I wonder how we'll act when out time is unlimited? When we have till the end of time.

Oh...bwt, don't think that sausage bread comment was lost in the air....LOL...I LOVE sausage bread!

Pam Halter said...

Out of the mouth of babes.

Our of the habits of dogs.

Isn't it amazing what God uses to reach us?

Kathryn Mackel said...

Regarding Bonnie's comment about "rushing through the verses," one of the beautiful things about studying scripture with a group is the opportunity to slow down and see things that are out our normal "pathways." I had this experience yesterday in Sunday School, seeing things in Daniel 4 and 1Samuel 3 that I had glossed over in my rush to get to that "sausage bread." It goes to show how important companionship one can trust (and cherish) is.

And Pam, it is amazing how gentle God can be in dealing out those lessons!