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Walking the dog

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

by guest blogger Jennifer Drummond |

Penny, a sweet furball the color of a perfectly baked croissant, is my teacher. Her recent lesson? That my ability to attend to my surroundings, and thus to God, is inversely proportional to how rushed I am. 

When pressed for time, Penny and I hustle around the small block. This is a focused mission, a chance for her to do her doggy business. There is no sniffing, no wandering, no time to deviate. 

Other days, we do a loop around the big block. She sniffs; old Maui was up early, Echo left his scent in this very spot, and that fat black cat lurked nearby in the overnight hours. Trees sway in the breeze, I nod and say hello to Roger in his running cap and shorts (no matter the temperature); I observe the new pumpkin on the porch across the street. Penny and I notice more in these fifteen relaxed minutes than in five rushed ones.

Once or twice a week we stroll outside of our neighborhood; this two mile loop takes us an hour. We cross a main street. Wandering through a neighborhood of cheery red front doors leads to a tucked away, wooded area. Long winding driveways signal the means and desire for privacy. Homes fade into landscapes of glorious green fields and misty rolling hills; wind whickers as the horses flick and stomp. Bright orange leaves surround luscious red berries and sunlight shimmers through brilliant yellows still streaked with greens. All of these gifts are noticed and savored on our meandering walk. 

We remain vigilant in the transition from the woods past the guard dog and his territory, on the main road, back to our neighborhood. The front field, bathed in gold and crunching underfoot, invites one last pause. I stand with a grin, and Penny takes off. She runs circles around me, leash fully extended. She runs with wild abandon because she can, a moment of sheer delight and gratitude at being alive. After a few minutes, she running and me grinning, we head home, ready for the next thing. 

Questions to ponder:

How are your interactions with God affected by your sense of being rushed? Of “having all the time in the world?” Are there natural rhythms and patterns in your life that can help you be more attentive to your surroundings, and thus to God?

Jennifer Drummond lives with her husband, two school aged children, and one sweet puppy in Asbury Grove, a Methodist Summer Camp. She loves photographing flowers and trees, walking the dog and looking for beauty all around. In addition to providing spiritual direction, she reads voraciously by the fireplace and blogs somewhat regularly at “That Got Me Thinking."

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