Life Lessons from My Dog
"RORY!! STOP DRINKING THAT," I clapped my hands together loudly twice to get her full attention.
She looked up at me, still drinking the stagnant puddle in the middle of the trail. We had hiked a very steep two miles up the side of a hill and were headed back down. My little puppy is adorable, but she hasn't quite figured out the concept of drinking from a pouring water bottle.
Frustrated I said to her, "Rory, seriously dude, there is a fresh stream just ahead. I know you are tired and thirsty and you think that this is as good as it's going to get but I promise you up ahead there is clearer and fresher water, and more of it than your little doggy stomach could ever hope to drink."
She continued to lap up the ankle deep puddle that was growing something green on one side. Carefully, I stepped as close as I could without getting in the nasty water myself and grabbed her by the collar.
Reluctantly she walked out, still trying to drink as I pulled her out. I hooked her leash back on and shook my head.
If only she could understand what I was saying. Why couldn't she just listen and trust me?
I could tell she was still thirsty. We had been hiking for awhile before attempting to hike straight up the hill. Another mile later and we were almost back to the trail head where the creek ran.
Rory figured out where we were and took off into the water. She happily laid down in the cool water and drank to her heart's content.
"See, Ror? If you could just understand that I'm trying to help you. I know you thought I was mean by dragging you out of that puddle and making you walk even further to the creek but I knew what I was doing. See how happy you are now sweet girl?"
It then dawned on me that I had been doing the same thing with my own life. I was settling for any old source of water, no matter how much algae had been growing on the surface. I stubbornly stayed in the stagnant water as life and opportunity called me from the dusty trail.
I didn't believe that life could get better. I needed to be safe, drinking what I could when I found it to survive. The problem is, I'm not ok with settling for survival. I don't want to be another person nose to the grind stone being content with scraping by.
There's an old saying that goes, "Jump and the net will appear." In my case you could say it would go, "Leave the easy limited puddle that will only last for awhile and may cause serious health problems later and a clear, overflowing creek with more water than you could ever drink will appear."
Life is work. It's so easy to settle for good enough, especially when there is a long dusty trail ahead of us with no signs of water. It is easy to believe that the puddles of our lives that are sustaining us for the meanwhile are good enough, when in reality we know that they are not sustainable.
Leave the stagnant, limited puddle and an abundant, overflowing creek will appear.