How God Used My Dog to Teach Me a Lesson

We are urged by the Bible to wait on the Lord. But sometimes there are obstacles.

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Posted in , Apr 7, 2021

Grace and Edward in the woods

We’re hiking Monument Mountain, Gracie’s favorite place in all creation, a predilection I ascribe to her being introduced to the 500-acre Massachusetts reserve early in her puppyhood. This was where she experienced the thrill of life off leash in the wild for the first time. I still let her off at certain points, though not too close to the famous quartzite cliffs.

Today it was on the Indian Monument Trail, a nineteenth century carriage track once used for those unwilling to tackle the summit in hoop skirts. The trail I like to think Nathaniel Hawthorne hiked to meet Herman Melville for the first time at the top of Monument in 1850. Melville, the younger man, I imagine took one of the tougher trails. 

Gracie is obedient off leash, racing up and down the trail and never letting me quite out of her sight. But every so often she goes streaking away into the trees chasing some scent or sound or just exulting in her freedom. It’s usually just for a few minutes, though once I lost her for several hours and nearly had a nervous breakdown…both of us.  

Today she disappeared into the woods. I found a nice rock to sit on and wait. And wait. Five minutes. Ten. I fingered the whistle in my pocket. Took a drink of water. Waited. Finally, I deployed the whistle. Still no Gracie. I clapped and called her. Blew the whistle some more. Just the empty silence of the trees.

I’ve learned that the best thing to do when Gracie is off on a frolic like this is to stay put at the spot where she last saw me. Not charge into the woods and down a ravine after her. Not march up the trail in pursuit. Just wait. She’ll find me. 

But it is so hard to wait when I want to act. When I am anxious. When doing nothing feels like the wrong thing. What if she tangles with a skunk? Or a porcupine? That happened once. Or a bear. They’re awake now, grouchy and hungry. Where is she? 

As I sat on that rock worrying, I was reminded of the Bible’s charge to wait on the Lord. Admittedly, I have trouble with that too. A lot of trouble. I pray, then a minute later I’m checking my watch. Where’s my answer? I ask God for help then try to do it all myself. I’m impatient with the Lord. Still, I am admonished to wait, wait on the Lord. When I finally do, the answer I get is usually better than what I asked for. But it is hard for me and this was as good a time as any to pray about that. Lordteach me to wait on YouTeach me patience and trust.

It wasn’t long before Gracie came bounding down the trail. She seemed a little frazzled, as if she might have lost her bearings for a bit. It was okay, though. I’d found mine. And once again, God used my dog to teach me a lesson I was unable to learn on my own.

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