Thursday, June 24, 2004

Spike wishing he were running. Posted by Hello

The Trouble with Expectations 

Since it was our day off and the sky looked sunny, we decided to drive up to the foothills of the volcano with our dog Spike to let him run and to do a bit of rambling (to me “hiking” conveys exertion and even purpose, whereas “rambling” is technically “to explore idly”, which is exactly what we did.)

As frequently happens when we head out into the world, things turned out differently than we had envisioned.

I don’t think we’ve ever been up on the mountainside when we came across more activity. We saw at least four shepherds with their small flocks, a herd of cattle being driven by a mounted cowboy, and lots of people working in the fields, most of them plowing with teams of malnourished horses. And we saw lots of dogs.

Our rule of thumb when rambling about the Mexican countryside is where there are people, there are dogs. Country dogs aren’t generally mean-spirited watchdogs like in the city. Even so, after an embarrassing incident in which Spike delightedly chased a herd of cows, much to consternation of the boy and the dogs who were herding them, we prefer to have him on a leash when there are other animals around. So, between the sheep and the ever-present dogs, poor Spike didn’t get much of a run.

As he was pacing from one side of the dirt road to the other at the end of the leash, I imagined that he was grumbling, “This isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I jumped into the car this morning.” And I thought about all of the times when I feel the same way towards God; “this sure isn’t what I had in mind.” My answer to Spike was “Well buddy, life has a lot of variables and sometimes we have to adjust to reality as it presents itself. Just enjoy that you got out at all today.”

Which I guess is a pretty good perspective to keep in mind myself.

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