Carried By Dog
Our daughter, Rami, and a friend took our golden retrievers the other day on a walk to a pond near our property. It was an idyllic scene, the pond ringed with cattails and almost waist high still-green meadow grass from the late rains this past year, and the melodious singing of the red-winged blackbirds. But the serenity was about to be broken. The dogs spotted an immature blackbird on one of the cattails and rushed for it. The young bird took off in alarm out across the pond but had not yet perfected its flying skills. It angled lower and lower until it splashed down right in the middle of the pond, where it remained, thrashing about trying to stay afloat.
Now the dogs were really excited. They took off swimming at a furious pace after their helpless prey. Rami and her friend started frantically calling the dogs, but they would not give up their chase. Finally, as the dogs converged upon the poor young bird, Rami, expecting one of the dogs would have a very quick snack, turned away crying and said, “I can’t watch this any more.”
Then she heard her friend call out, “Rami, I think you can watch this.” Turning around, what she saw surprised her. Rather than hurting the bird in any way, the dogs were swimming around it in circles, as if they were either curious or even concerned about its safety. A moment later, Abby, our four-year-old, must have passed very close to the bird, for it had somehow climbed up on her back, as if it had just jumped on a passing bus for a ride. Sensing this unusual turn of events, the dogs turned and headed back to shore. Abby occasionally turned her head from side to side, obviously curious about this hitchhiker who had now climbed onto her neck to be completely out of the water.
When Abby climbed onto the shore of the pond, Rami was right there to rescue the already rescued young blackbird and place it on a high tree branch to dry out. The bird took one last look at the dogs and, realizing that it was safe, started the process of drying its feathers.
When Rami told us this amazing story, I couldn’t help but think how nature continually teaches us valuable lessons on life’s journey … if we pay attention. How often are we like that little bird, feeling helpless or inadequate, and expecting to be eaten by the world, attacked by some predator, or hurt by some relationship. Instead we are actually helped. How often do we expect the worst, and receive the opposite; worry about losing our job, only to get a much better job; worry about our partner having an affair, and find out they’ve been planning a special surprise for our birthday; afraid that our child will be injured by what we feel is a dangerous activity, only for them to have the best time of their life.
Remember that “f.e.a.r.” stands for “false evidence appearing real.” We can either give in to appearances, or we can relax and trust in life’s goodness. We can believe in false evidence, or remember that the power of love is greater. We can choose the reality of fear or the reality of love. It’s always our choice.
Making the choice of worry or fear drains our life energy and makes us depressed. Choosing to trust gives us energy and allows us to be happy. What are you worried about or afraid will happen? Remember that young red-winged blackbird riding on our dog’s neck, and feel yourself trust that you, too, will be carried to safety by a large invisible dog-spelled-backwards.