"Go get your lead."
He hesitates and waits. With every fibre of his being he wants to do what I ask, but he's not sure what that is
I say it again, encouragingly, "Go get your lead," and together we go into the hallway, where his red lead hangs over a ledge.
"That's it," I nod at the lead, "Go get your lead."
And he knows. He pulls at it gently with his mouth, as I encourage and praise him. He's such a quick study!
"A gentle showing and a quick knowing," I think.
I stop at the small side table in the hallway on the way out. Opening a drawer I take out two neatly folded plastic bags; they are for his own version of Gifts at the Side of the Road.
"Only for Molson," I think.
I told Peter on Saturday, that over the past week Molson and I had walked 21 kilometers.
"So where are you now Mom?" asked my whacky son and I started to answer, "Bond Head," but just in time I got it. And we laughed at ourselves and the joke.
Tonight as we run out into the evening; the verdant, summer green evening; I notice something. He is pacing himself to my pace. If he gets just a little ahead, he drops back until he is by my side again. And I think of what a pleasure it is to walk with him like this. He is remembering...
A couple of nights ago, Brenda came with us on our walk. Molson belongs to Brenda; he is just my walking buddy.
We happily started off on the walk and had not gone far when Brenda said in dismay, "What's this?!" Both Molson and I instantly looked guilty and we didn't know why; we just knew we'd done something wrong.
"What?" I said.
"He's pulling," said Brenda, "You can't let him do that."
I had been oblivious to the fact that Molson was getting a little ahead of himself, but Brenda's quick eye sized it up.
After a few more minutes of watching her dog taking me for a walk, and in spite of me saying, "He doesn't usually do this," she could stand it no more, "Give him to me, Mom," she said, taking charge of the situation.
And then it was retraining time for both Molson and me. A few yanks on the collar and a few firm shouts of "No!" Then a few stops to "Sit," so that he could contemplate his misdemeanours, and Molson was back in shape.
Brenda handed his lead back to me , Molson trotting along perfectly. There was one more instruction, "Tell him 'good boy'," she said, "You gotta praise him when he's doing well, Mom."
Tonight he obviously remembered the lessons of the last walk because he was so obedient, the whole walk was a pleasure. I had great walks before but I didn't know it could be so much more enjoyable.
I couldn't help seeing all kinds of parallels with a walk of a different kind--mine with God.
Does he ever wonder when I will notice that I have run on ahead of him, leaving him behind?
Does he take pleasure in the perfect harmony of our walk when I keep my eyes on him and stay in step with him?
I know for sure that he helps me clear up some pretty stinky messes when I get myself into them.
And when I'm doing well, I feel his pleasure, there is no feeling like it. I feel it sometimes when I'm leading worship and self is forgotten; it's all about him, declaring his praise and exhorting others to do likewise. When people respond and turn their hearts to him, it feels as though I'm doing one of the things that he created me to do. I love it.
"A gentle showing and a quick knowing." I pray that I will be a "quick study," and responsive to God; teachable.
Here are some favourite verses from psalm 32 that always make me smile because they paint such a graphic picture of our potential for wilfulness and forgetfulness.
Psalm 32:8-10 (Amplified Bible)
8 I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
9Be not like the horse or the mule, which lack understanding, which must have their mouths held firm with bit and bridle, or else they will not come with you.
10Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on the Lord shall be compassed about with mercy and with loving-kindness.