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A Devotion for the Dog Days of Summer

Today was going to be one of those days when nothing happened. And that was good.

By Edward Grinnan, New York, New York

As appeared in

And, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. Zechariah 1:11

Heat waves are a fact of summer in New York. When one hits, Manhattan turns into a concrete desert. A lethargy settles over the populace; even my dog is affected. The minute Millie steps outside our building and senses the temperature hovering above ninety, she does an about-face.

“Come on, Mil,” I snapped at her one steamy Saturday morning last year before the day became too hot. “You need exercise.”

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She gave me one of those pleading looks dogs are so good at and then set out in the direction of the dog run, moving slowly, deliberately. I tried to speed up but she was having none of it.

Finally we arrived. Millie greeted her friends, took a long sloppy drink from the communal water bowl, and settled herself for a nap in the shade, under the bench where I was sitting checking my BlackBerry.

Napping was not exercise. I glanced up and scanned the dog run for a ball I could throw. What I saw slowed me down.

Dogs were everywhere, relaxing in the shade, wading sedately in the big kiddies’ pool we all chipped in for, stretching languidly or just sitting peacefully with their people. And everyone appeared very content. Owners read books and newspapers, sunned themselves, chatted and, yes, even napped, heads lolling to the side. A briny breeze wafted softly from the Hudson, rustling the trees. Otherwise, all was quiet.

Millie was right. What was all the hurry about, especially in this heat? Slow down. Take a break.

I turned the phone off, slipped it into my pocket and closed my eyes. Today was going to be one of those days when nothing happened. And that was good.

Lord, sometimes You need to tell me when to slow down, because I’m not always as smart as my dog.

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Guideposts Publications and author of The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours.