Sunny Walks

Many of you know that the newest member of our family, now for just over a month, is my brother-in-law’s cute little dog named Sunny. Sunny is a very loving, mop-haired 2 year old who loves to play. We are thrilled to have him with us, for however long it may be. We have a great time together and really enjoy him.

However, as cute and loving as he is, there are some frustrations that come along with him. I am the chief dog walker in our house, and I would guess that nearly 50% of our twice daily walks involve a battle of wills. Jan will tell you that I am an extremely patient guy, and I am. However, Sunny is in no hurry to complete our walks. He is a dawdler. I had no idea there are so many interesting things on our block! Sunny will often stop, roughly every 20 feet, to either smell something in the grass, listen to a sound, or look intently in multiple directions, as if he is waiting for something to happen. He has been known to stand still looking, listening or smelling something for a full minute at a time. Consequently, we have taken up to 30 minutes to go around our small block – a walk of no more than 400 yards. Even on a nice evening, like tonight, I get frustrated and pull on his leash, and he will often just dig in his heels, insisting that what he wants to pay attention to is the most important thing in the world. He does not win those battles, but he keeps on trying.

Tonight, as we walked, it occurred to me to wonder how frustrating I may be at times to God. We often sing the song in church – “Just a closer walk with Thee”, and often talk about our “walk with God”. That made me wonder, am I as bull-headed as Sunny is, insisting on going at my pace, getting fascinated with or stuck on things that may not be good for me? I don’t know how far to extend this metaphor, but it strikes me that God is remarkably patient with me, allowing me to focus on things I feel are important, rightly or wrongly, going off on all manner of detours, and certainly not making good use of our time together. Do I want to frustrate God? No. Do I? No doubt! How much of both God’s and my time do I waste on things that are not worthy of my attention? And yet God is patient with me, gives me more leash than I probably deserve, and gently pulls me back into the right path.

God has given us free will, more freedom to make our own decisions than I give Sunny. My hope is that Sunny will learn over time, how to be more purposeful in our walks than he is now, to the extent that he has already mastered communicating love to us. My prayer is that I too will continue to learn to be more focused on God’s wishes for me, and not put God’s patience to the test as often as I do today.

Loving God, Thank you for your patience with me. Help me to be focused on your love for me, and, day by day, to follow your lead in our walk together, rather than insisting on my own way. Amen.

Dave Erickson-Pearson

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