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  • Reverend James Squire

Death By Dog

It should come as no surprise if you have been keeping up with my blog that I spoil The Wonder Dog, Sadie! She is the very embodiment of an obstacle in my life. She is never far from me when I am in the home. She has a propensity of lying across any area that I am trying to cross. I spend a good bit of time stepping over her and making sure that she is not disturbed. This has been going on long enough that she doesn’t move or worry about me stepping on her. If there were an Olympic event called the dog step over, I would be in the running to win a gold medal as sometimes I look like a gymnast trying to safely navigate over her like I am playing the game of Twister.

She is an enjoyable obstacle for she demonstrates complete trust. It is mutual. I have often indicated to my wife if she ever gets spooked or gets up quickly that could be the end of me. She is an obstacle that is a risky proposition. My obituary would read “Death by Dog.” Just as she trusts me to never step on her or nudge her with a foot, I trust that she will remain in place.

Most of us have other kinds of obstacles in our life that aren’t friendly that are challenges. Randy Pausch states in his Last Lecture that walls or obstacles are there to show us how much we want something. His words have had a profound impact on my life. Britney Spears has been getting a good bit of attention recently. She said, “I always wanted a fairy tale life and I never got it.” A fairy tale life is what many people and I don’t ever want to have. it’s unrealistic! Give me the obstacles so I know what is really important to me. Show me the obstacles in other peoples’ lives, and I will have the sense of purpose and excitement of helping them to move through them so that they know what is important as well.

Just as Sadie can make my life more trusting as an obstacle, other obstacles, if seen through the eyes of Pausch, can make our lives full and very rewarding.

There is something that can disguise itself as an obstacle or wall. They are referred to as stumbling blocks. Stumbling brings to mind something that makes us fall. When Adam and Eve leave the Garden of Eden, it is referred to as “after the fall” which implies a loss of innocence and alienation from self, others, and God. Books by that title, After the Fall, reflect on a person’s downfall. The biblical record is filled with this idiom in expressing something profoundly negative with nothing learned or from which meaning and purpose is not derived. It refers to what brings about a lack of trust. Leviticus 19:14 states, “You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.” In 1 Corinthians 8:9 we read, “But take care that this liberty does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” 1 John 2:10 indicates, “The one who loves his brother abides in the Light, and there is no cause or stumbling in him.”

The essence an obstacle is that is grounded in trust so that one can see what is important in one’s life. It is powered by creating a relationship with self, others, and God.

A stumbling block betrays trust like the person who puts something to trip up a blind man. It causes sin defined as alienation from self, others, and God.

Trust brings about years of stepping over an obstacle knowing that you are moving toward something that will create safety, meaning, and purpose in our lives.

Lack of trust only has to occur once for it to sow doubt in another. Betrayal is not easily fixed or healed. It can cause alienation from self, others, and God as Adam and Eve found after they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. With this lack of trust your obituary may read metaphorically as “Death By Dog.”

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