The Straight and Narrow

Most mornings, right after the sun comes up you can find me taking my two French Bulldogs for a three mile stroll around the neighborhood. These two dogs love to walk and can be very competitive with one another. Bee, our black and white dog, usually takes a straight and narrow approach to walking. She gets in her little zone, and with head held high she walks right down the middle of the sidewalk.

Then there is Carl, a solid crèam colored dog that can look a little devilish at times. He is very free spirited and walks all over the place. He sniffs everything and will eat almost any dead frog or spider along the way. He has to be first and doesn’t like it a bit if Bee gets any extra attention from people in the neighborhood.  He had a pretty rough beginning that plays into why he acts out. When he first came home with us, we realized that something was wrong with his tail. It wouldn’t move when he went poo pooh which caused stuff to get stuck. Over time, he became hostile towards us when we approached him to get him clean. Our little puppy was developing an attitude that we didn’t know how to deal with.

After consulting with Carl’s veterinarian, we took him to a specialist to discuss the removal of the tail. We quickly learned that this was not a simple procedure. Apparently the tail is connected to the spinal cord and having it wacked off is a very painful experience for the dog. To make matters worse, Carl had a difficult recovery and didn’t want anyone near him for quite a while.

Now back to the walks with Carl and Bee. Bee has continued to live a life of the straight and narrow while Carl wants to make life for his dog sister challenging. If Carl hurts, he wants Bee to hurt as well. If he is spots a rabbit or squirrel, he will try to get loose from the leash and run after it. When he realizes that he can’t get free, he will show his anger by pushing Bee out of the way or nipping at her. This will take Bee out of her zone for a couple of seconds and then she is back to the business of walking straight ahead, oblivious to the distractions that her companion has caused.

I can’t help but think about how life can be like this as well. We all can make the decision to stay focused on God, trying hard not to get distracted by all the Carls life can throw at us. We will all go through trials of many kinds but we have to make the decision to get back in the middle of the path and move ahead.

Paul writes about this in Philippians 3:12-14: “But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

So the next time you get distracted by the trials in your life, remember that God is calling us heavenward in Christ Jesus. And maybe the troubles we are experiencing are signs from God with the purpose of teaching us to hold on to him a little bit tighter.

Oh and if you were wondering about Carl, other than his pushy nature on a walk, he is turning into a good little dog.

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