I was at the park yesterday all by myself. I NEVER, EVER go there alone. However, it was an absolutely perfect day and I was killing time as I was waiting to pick up my friend. Besides, it was the park behind the new Bass Pro Shop; so, there were lots of people milling around and I wasn't too worried about lurkers or weirdos preying on my lack of awareness.
How did I know that God was going to send me a lesson while I was sitting there minding my own business? I hate it and love it when this happens. But, it was like I had surround sound throughout my head and tugging on my heart telling me, "OK, Peggy, pay attention here because this is important and I don't want you to miss it". Sometimes I feel like I'm a living "Grasshopper" in my own Kung Fu drama - "Ah, Grasshopper, here is lesson for you" and I reply, "OK, master, I'm paying attention." and, then, muttering under my breath - "Holy cow! I hope I get it".
Anyway, I'm rambling...actually, there were two lessons (that I was aware of)...
The first was this young man and his awesome dog. He had three dogs, two scampering wiener dogs and some sort of golden retriever/yellow lab mix. His big dog was the one I was smitten with. The young man was working with him on his obedience training while the other two "hot dogs" were nearby, playing with each other and looking like little badgers in the grass.
This dog was amazing. For about 20 minutes I watched as his master never uttered a sound and the dog followed his every move - always obedient, always gazing lovingly into his master's eyes, always staying by his side, his desire to please his master the focus of every step and every action he took. This relationship was so in-tune and the intimacy between this man and his dog was beautiful.
I watched and watched, paying close attention, because this lesson I understood. I sat there watching this scene unfold and, all the while, these questions were rolling through my mind - how do I please my Master? Do I follow His instructions obediently and keep my focus on Him so I know the next move? Do I wait patiently, yet with great anticipation, for some sign of what I am to do next? Do I wait for him to clap his hands, indicating the lesson is over, and then run to Him like He is the very reason for my being, relishing in His lavish love and praise? Those questions are still rolling through my mind.
The second lesson was pretty profound for me, as well. I was watching a group of children playing and climbing on this huge rock formation (built for little ones). They were about 3-5 yrs. old - not yet school age and big enough to play and climb, rough and tumble without a lot of help.
Their mothers were just a few feet away as they were all climbing on this big rock. Three of the little energy hounds jumped off the rock and ran off to the next adventure. However, one was left behind, still climbing on the rock. She was climbing diligently and then she turned around and got STUCK. She couldn't go up or down because, instead of facing the wall, she had turned her back to it and lost her focus. She was worried and scared and she couldn't move. She yelled "Help me" and the mothers were busy keeping track of the other kids and not really listening to her. Finally, she got the attention of one of them. This mom did the most amazing thing. Instead of just lifting her down, as I expected, she gently turned her around, took hold of her little foot and gently placed it on the next step and then, again, patiently showed her where her next step should go. I watched as the little girl trusted the directions and her mom guided her from that rock, step by step, with her help.
I've felt like that lately - stuck on the rock, yelling for help and not being able to grab anyone's attention. It's silly. It's just that I lost my focus and I let fear and frustration guide my steps or paralyze me. The past couple of weeks I have had to ask God, once more and again (sigh), to guide me and to lead me where I should go.
So, lesson #1 - God loves me and desires an intimate relationship with me. He showers His extravagant love over me; and, He relishes in my obedience. To be in-tune with my Master is a beautiful thing.
And, lesson #2 - It's easy to get distracted, to lose focus, to let fear paralyze me and to get Stuck! Even during those times, God continues to love me and gently turns me around, shows me the way, holds my hands and guides my steps.
I hope my Master is looking at me with a laughing heart and smiling eyes. I imagine Him telling me, "Well done, Grasshopper, you did, indeed, pay attention. Now, show me what you have learned."