Settling (or Beyond the Sidewalk)

Heywood. Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0

Pulling the leash taught, he looked wistfully down the road. Turning his head toward me his brown eyes yearned to explore beyond the side walk.

“No. I don’t want a car to splash on me. Look at the size of those puddles,” I said calmly.

He turned and continued his wistful look followed by yearning brown eyes.

“No, not this time,” I said firmly and without harshness.

He turned and looked down the two-lane road. I waited. He looked back at me, using every cute bone in his body (he has many) to plead his case.


He yearned and turned back to me.

I nodded my head back the way we came. Letting out a sigh (really), he gave up. Moments later he found the perfect spot and we returned to the warmth of the indoors.

Like my beloved Heywood, we often have to settle in life. I’ve found that sometimes, not always, but often enough my yearning for the land beyond the sidewalk is not what I need. Sometimes settling isn’t settling at all. It is finding the joy in the perfect spot I’d passed by on my desire to go beyond the sidewalk.

The Contentment of Companions

The Contentment of Companions
Peeking Heywood. Photo by Tim Graves. (Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Peeking Heywood. Photo by Tim Graves. (Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0)

My chihuahua mix friend has a favorite spot: underneath the covers. My job is to lift up the covers for him. If I fail to notice that he needs a blanket, he gently paws at me. His brown eyes beseech me to put a warm cover over his hind quarters, his mid-section, and his head.

Upon being covered, his whole body relaxes and a loud sigh emanates from beneath the lumpy blanket. Contentment reigns until he overheats or has biological needs.

Holy One, thank you for the opportunity to spread blankets of love over my pet. His presence in my life brings me great joy. Move me to build relationships of mutuality and love with not only those I meet each day but those I will never meet. Help me to find the blankets they need that will bring contentment into difficult lives. 

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Scary Walk: Freedom from All Yokes

Scary Walk: Freedom from All Yokes
Heywood "Snaggletooth" Elsworth III (Photo by Tim Graves)
Heywood “Snaggletooth” Elsworth III (Photo by Tim Graves)

My focus wasn’t on the beauty of the mountains in the distance or the green fields on the other side of the fencing. The crystal blue sky and early morning light were invisible to me. I was scared as the twelve-pound, brown creature darted around in quick sporadic circles on the road and the shoulders.

As we were taking our morning walk yesterday, Heywood, my new chihuahua mix, slipped out of his collar. When he realized he had no collar, he began to run around in “I’m free” circles. Heywood was oblivious to the danger of the rapidly approaching car on the roadway. His unaware joy brought terror to my being.

In our ten-days together since his adoption I have fallen deeply in love with my little friend. I cannot imagine the house without him. Who would join me on my early morning walks? Who would enthusiastically sit and shake both front paws indicating his desire to go for a walk?

I am thankful for the caution and patience of the driver heading into town yesterday. She stopped her vehicle and waited for me to encourage Heywood to come to me. I tightened the collar and carried him until we returned to the relative safety of the side streets in the small eastern Oregon town where we live. From there he walked home, clearly tired from his burst of puppy-energy.

Today I kept a close watch on him. I was stricter about his movements. I stopped and knelt down to him a couple times, held him under the chin as you might a two-year-old. “I am in charge, little man,” I told him in a stern voice. He really does want to please me, he stopped tugging to get into the road, each time I reminded him who was in charge.

I’m not all that different than Heywood. I am sometimes oblivious to the dangers that lurk nearby. Too often I run around in “I’m free” circles forgetting that I need others and the Divine to guide me along treacherous roads. My prayer today is for the wisdom and awareness that I might know when I need help.

Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves.  My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 CEB