The brisk wind flowing through two coats of dense fur. The snow packed tight between pads of the paw. The musher yelling commands as his mutts haul their heavy sled. This is the DNA of a husky. Born runners. The working class of the K9 community.
I have newly discovered my dog, Mowgley’s, passion and excitement for snow. Born and raised in southern California, he had never thought such a white and fluffy phenomenon existed.
He would do his due diligence at inspecting every tree, snowball, and icicle on our daily walks through the snow. We were practically alone on the flat top mountain at 10,000 ft., so he was free to roam without a leash. He would wander until out of sight, then immediately following my whistle return to retrieve his reward for responding. The joy on his face was apparent. It might be ridiculous to assume dogs can smile, but his grin stretched to the corners of his jowls. I had never seen him so happy!
One of our routine walks gave us both a new perspective of “living on the edge”, and the dangers of doing so. An overcast day foreshadowed the events that would occur on our usual walk. I marveled at the beauty of the Colorado mountains while Mo, oblivious to the surroundings, pranced along my side. Snow-covered peaks and crowded forests stood in every direction.
About a mile in (which feels like five miles at the present elevation), we spotted a Golden Eagle perched by an opening along the thin icy edge of a lake. It was waiting patiently for its meal to come to the surface. Its piercing eyes spotted Mo and me and he immediately made his escape to a more private location to do his feeding. Mo, who usually makes sport of chasing away any sort of winged critter, responded quickly to my command to return to my side when he began to head toward the ice’s edge to inspect what the eagle might have been doing. And so we continued on our journey.
We doubled backed and started to make our way home. We were once again close to the fishing spot of the winged critter, and my intelligent pup knew it. He increased the distance between us and began to pick up his pace. Off the safety of the path, over the snowy hill, and to the edge of the bank he ran. My heart began to beat in my ears. I whistled, called his name, bartered with treats, desperate to grab his attention. His eyes momentarily locked onto mine and my heart began to race even faster as I wondered what he would choose. As I watched him step onto the lake’s icy surface, I became aware of my numb hands. I knew the ice wouldn’t hold me, and my fear was not only that he would fall in, but that I would be rendered helpless as a spectator, unable to save his life. The frozen ground held my 50 pound pup as he continued to step closer to the opening.
Then, I heard a crack.
Looking back, I see many similarities to our human tendencies. We tend to wander and stray from the secure path that God has laid out for us. We know that the path next to Him leads us home… to safety. Yet, we find excitement in wandering off on our own. For some, we must leave no area left unexplored. While we do our exploring, God remains on the path calling us back, and rejoices once we return. Sometimes, we are unaware that we are on thin ice until it breaks beneath us, leaving us to slowly drown in the freezing water, or ALLOW GOD to pull us out. At some point, we all find ourselves on some sort of ice. It is not a matter of IF the ice break beneath you, but WHEN.
Struggling to swim, Mowgley was able to reach the edge and place his front paws on the ice. Ignoring my previous fears, I sprinted down the snow bank and crawled on my belly to reach the hole. As soon as I got close enough to grab a tuft of fur, I gave a hard yank and pulled him onto the solid surface. Wet and cold, we both were thankful to be walking back home.
Whichever “icy lake” you find yourself struggling on: Lying, cheating, sex, self-image, drugs, alcohol, idolatry, pornography, etc. God is there calling you back by His side, or lift you out of the water when the ice breaks beneath you. He wants to remind you and me that the path that leads us home is the path right next to Him.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
Bradon Schwarz is a young adult from The Place Church Community. When he isn’t chasing his dog Mo through the Colorado mountains, he leads vision and program development for Extreme Mobility Ministries, extreme sports camps for the blind.