Growing up playing basketball, I hated running. To me, it had always been a punishment for poor performance or bad behavior at practice, so I enjoyed it about as much Willy Wonka enjoys eating his vegetables–I hated it! Once I got older, however, I found I actually enjoyed running when I did it outdoors on a nice day. I found it to be ironically peaceful because it allowed me to observe nature, enjoy the weather, and keep myself active and healthy.
As my love for running grew, I found myself increasingly pushing my limits. I’d run farther and harder with each outing, and even began running without a predetermined route in mind (I found it to be more adventurous that way). Unfortunately, my new “adventurous” attitude would end up putting me in a gigantic pickle I won’t soon forget…
It was another nice day in Windsor, MO. The weather was in the 70s, the skies were clear, and I was in the mood to “get my run on.” As I was putting on my shoes, I thought about taking my dog Toby along, since he hadn’t done anything but sit in the house all day while I was at school. I decided against it, however, because anytime I ran with Toby, he would slow me down by constantly stopping to sniff any bush, pole, or stoop he could find, leaving me having to drag him along as I tried to keep a consistent pace. So instead, I placed a dog biscuit in his mouth, promised him I’d be back in about 30 minutes, and jogged to the door to begin my run.
This run was going perfect! I ran down past my usual beginning route: past the high school, down the street past Casey’s General Store, and onto the Katy trail. I then came to a mysterious road that led to somewhere I hadn’t been to before. An unknown path with nothing but bright green grass, hovering trees, and adventure down its way!
Everything started out normal. I had my usual country music playing and was enjoying the new scenic views. The road was straight as an arrow for about half a mile until it took a hard turn to the left. I glided through this turn like usual and stumbled upon an older, unappealing house that had multiple broken down cars out in its front yard. It looked similar to this:
I didn’t think much of this unappealing house until all of a sudden, approximately 20 large and angry dogs came flying out from the debris! They were all barking and looking at me like I was a walking slab of meat, and I had no idea what to do! So of course, I did probably the worst thing you could in this situation…I gave them a terrified look, turned around, and sprinted back towards civilization as fast as I could! Much to my chagrin, this strategy failed as these dogs didn’t just stay back and bark from afar. Oh no…they instinctively started chasing me as if they were a pack of wolves and I was Bambi! I felt like Benny Rodriguez from the Sandlot, except without the P.F. Flyers and 20 dogs chasing me instead of one!
Finally, after about 30 yards, I knew there was nothing I could do. My strategy of running frantically from the scene was clearly not working, so I slowly came to a complete stop, raised my hands up in the air, and avoided eye contact at all costs. I knew my best chance of escaping this mess was to make myself look as passive and unassuming as possible, so that’s what I did. As I stood there in the middle of this empty road, I was the most terrified I’d ever been! I was now at the mercy of these dogs and my life was truly out of my hands as these dogs could easily kill me if they all attacked me at once. The only thing I could think to do at this point was to pray:
Dear Lord, please save me from this mess I’ve got myself into. Please let these dogs leave and allow me to calmly go back to my life as it was without injury. Please deliver me from this place!
Thankfully, God answered my prayer quickly and these rabid dogs (who were now standing directly behind me) quit barking, looked at me with a curious look, and calmly turned and walked back to their “automobile graveyard” from which they came! I’ve never been so relieved in all my life!
As I calmly walked back to my house from that spot, I couldn’t help but reflect on the situation. For one, I thanked God I didn’t take my dog Toby with me, because if I had, those dogs would have undoubtedly killed him and most likely severely injured (if not killed) me in the process! Secondly,I realized how my life is truly out of my hands. I could have easily died a terrible death on this beautiful day doing something I really enjoyed doing! I never imagined my life would be in jeopardy, but there I was, by myself with 20 or so furious dogs chasing me through the countryside! Thankfully, God wasn’t ready for me to meet Him just yet…
What can we all learn from this situation?
1) Cherish every day you have
2) Humble yourself and admit you’re not in control
3) Live your life as if everyday matters, because it does!
As for Toby and I, we’ll see you on the running trail!