Listening along the Path

Did you hear that? Beep, Beep, Beep…

Yesterday, Dusty and I chose to walk in a different park area.  We didn’t have a trail to follow so Dusty merrily followed his nose to a clump of high grass with some misplaced daisies, against a background of relentless wolf willows.  He charged in with curious abandon determined to stick his nose into the most aromatic spot.  I patiently waited, laughing as he jumped after a butterfly flitting amidst the grass.

I gave him several little tugs to remind him that we should continue our walk.  He ignored me until I gave him the command, “Steady.” Only then did he choose to follow me and eventually began walking by my side.  As we continued in this pattern of checking out the distractions, listening to my corrections and moving forward, I began to notice a lumberyard just beyond the railroad tracks that rimmed the edge of the park.

Dusty happened to dart after a magpie, pulling us within earshot of the lumberyard.  The sharp staccato beeps struck Dusty by surprise.  He popped up onto his hind legs to look for the annoying sound that had disturbed his latest adventure.  He sniffed the air but couldn’t determine what had made the noise.   Again the beeps sounded and again he continued his search for the mysterious creature.  I didn’t tug this time.  Instead I waited for him to tire from being on his hind legs, and to come back to me.  When he did he seemed relieved and happy to know that we could still continue our walk.  The beeps still sounded, growing fainter as we turned the corner and headed in a different direction.

Back-up alarms, they beep loudly in areas where dangerous situations could occur.  Dusty didn’t know how to interpret them; however, his curious spirit eventually sensed they had to be heeded.

“Gee Lord,” I mused, “I wish you would send out back up alarms for me when I fall into those old familiar patterns instead of moving forward to accept the new direction on our walk together.”

Imagine it!  You reach for that candy bar at the check out line and just as your hand closes in to grab it…  Beep, beep, beep.  The cashier smirks and shakes his head.  You quickly relent and turn away from the candy shelf.

Picture it!  Your ideas for your best friend’s party have been overlooked yet again. You can’t hold it in any longer, you confront your other friend ready to clearly state or even shout if needed, exactly how you feel when you hear it…Beep, beep, beep.  You pause in mid-rage and manage to take a deep breath.  Beep, beep, beep… time to seek peace not create strife.

What if? You know temptations, anger, jealousy, greed, power, control, revenge, manipulations … these all exist at the edges of our everyday lives, threatening to create horrible situations if we cross over the boundaries of our self-control.  It would be great if every time we might make a questionable decision, we could hear the loud… Beep, beep, beep.  It would help us to turn away so that instead of backing into a situation we might regret, we could continue to move forward.

Back up warnings… hmm… they also make me ponder the overall journey.

Today I am the same person as I was yesterday.  Yet today I may receive a diagnosis that will label how my body reacts to a disease or an event.  Today a bit of joyful or upsetting news may force me to rethink the direction of my life… Beep, beep, beep.

I wish I could have pushed a button and played these sounds at certain moments throughout the years.  What a great warning they would have been.

“When you do this you won’t be able to push replay, you may regret your actions and you won’t be able to back up, to do it over.”

Beep beep, beep… “Don’t go this way, move forward.”

Lord yesterday you gave me the moment to listen to the sound of the back up warnings.  Given a chance to ponder their greater meaning I thank you for the clever person who thought of this unique invention and how to utilize it.  I will choose to incorporate these sounds into my life, so that they will serve as a reminder of acknowledging boundaries I need to respect, and as a guide to recognize paths I need to explore.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.     Jeremiah 29:11-13
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