January 15, 2004
week, I took my dog and a friends dog for a hike up on the
mountain behind my house. I have been trying to get out in the woods
often. I never really appreciated what a great natural resource
our state forests are until I did not have them last year. We spent
too many days in a hospital, and too few outside enjoying the beauty
We had some
snow squalls earlier in the day, and there was a little less than
an inch of snow on the ground. My dog, Sophie, is a 10-month-old
Weimaraner, and we have only had her for about a month. I was using
a retractable leash that gave her a little freedom, but insured
that I maintained control. My friends dog is a 4-year-old
chocolate lab who is well trained and can be trusted off the leash.
When we started
on our hike, Sophie would pull every now and again, but I figured
she would learn that she only had so much lead after a while. I
was hoping that she would give up on being first since she was on
the leash and my friends dog was not. Sophie is really, really
strong, and at some points I felt like she was pulling me up the
mountain. My commands of no pulling were deafly ignored.
Sophie bounded forward jerking me along after her. Finally, I decided
to use another shorter non-retractable leash to make Sophie heel.
That was no better. She pulled and yanked, and I responded to her
repeatedly with corrective jerks and heel commands.
an hour of hiking, I was starting to really regret having decided
to take the hike. I was tired. The hike was no fun for Sophie or
me. The peace I longed for in the woods was replaced with a battle
The trail turned
to begin the descent down to a lower trail on the mountain. I knew
the trail well. It is rocky and steep. With the snow, I knew that
the hike down would be treacherous.
And then I had
a moment of inspiration
a moment of insight that transcended
the space and time of my particular situation. What I started to
realize is that sometimes our desire to control an uncontrollable
situation makes us tired and unhappy. It makes us anxious and affects
the beings around us negatively. And sometimes, our insistence for
control can be dangerous.
I took one look
at Sophie, and realized I was just going to have to give some trust
that the whole situation would work out. I asked God to help us,
and I let Sophie off the leash. She bolted down the trail, ears
flapping in the wind, it looked like she would never stop. But she
did. When she stopped, she turned around and looked up the trail
at me. And she ran all the way back. The rest of the hike was awesome.
Sophie enjoyed her freedom, and I enjoyed PEACE.
just have to learn to let go
(I just want
to write that I do not condone letting dogs run off leash out of
control especially when they can be a nuisance to people or other
animals. I think you have to strive for a balance that respects
everyones right to peace.)
cares on the Lord and He will sustain you" -Psalm 56:22(a)
exciting happiness is the happiness generated by forces beyond your
control. Ogden Nash
Lord grant me
the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change
the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. AMEN