Each day as my walking companions (two schnoodles) and I round the corner towards home Molly begins her normal, excitable dog behavior. Without fail, she always pulls and strains on the leash near the end of our walks. It might be the the scent of home or the anticipation of a reunion with the elderly cat. Either way, Molly's eagerness on the last leg of our journey is undeniable.
At the end of the other leash is Pippy who displays a completely different demeanor. She is Molly's opposite. At the beginning of our walks she is a bit more of a leash-puller but that behavior never lasts more than a block. She falls into the comfortable arrangement we have assumed and perfected. She trots in step with my pace always on my left side, always a stride behind, positioned to follow any turn I might decide to make along the way. We walk with effortless synchronization all the way home, even during the last block of our walk and right into the driveway.
Molly's lack of disciple and daily pulling used to frustrate me. I wanted her to walk like Pippy and outgrow her tugging behavior that I blamed on puppyhood. But now the time to point fingers at youth has passed. Molly is officially an "adult" and I do believe I have officially come to an understanding of her leash-pulling behavior. Just call me the dog whisperer.
Molly is pulling on the leash because she is straining towards what is ahead with joy and great anticipation. She simply cannot wait to get home! She loves home. She loves the little couch in the living room that has become her "bed." She loves to run and jump off the top step of the small set of stairs leading into the living room, perfect for rambunctious air-flying tricks. She loves my Mom, her Mom. She loves to play with, read: torment, Patches, the most elder pet of the house. When Molly is pulling on the leash she does so with pure delight because she knows what lies ahead and she knows that it is truly good.
In Molly I've come to see a characteristic I could use a bit more of in my own life: looking forward with hope and excitement at what lie ahead.
God has in store for me a good and glorious future. Ultimately, He has a "home" for me that is so magnificent and marvelous that my mind can't comprehend it. But I know this much, it's worth tugging on the leash to reach it.
The way Pippy walks is a lesson all of its own. She follows, just like I must be following Christ no matter where He leads or where He turns next. Christ is my leader, the "top dog" in the pack and I am His faithful follower.
Yet, Molly reminds me that I can be excited while I follow. The promises of what God has ahead are so exciting that I should yearn for more of Christ, constantly striving to experience more His love and grace. As I walk I can reach for more of God's spirit to overcome my life with His presence and fill me with His peace.
As I walk with Jesus, following with the faithfulness of Pippy, I'm going to embrace a little Molly in my stride, too. Filled with joyous expectation I am going to strain, reach, stretch and strive for the goodness of God's glory that lies ahead while I walk in step with my Savior.