Wiener Dogs and Traffic Jams

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It’s over 100 degrees outside but feels much hotter sitting in rush hour traffic.  I’m busy rapping along with Macklemore and tapping the steering wheel when I see something in the road ahead that stops me mid-verse.

It’s a dachshund.

A black and tan wiener dog is running down the middle of Highway 75 straight toward me.  He’s wagging his little black tail and smiling, oblivious to the dangers around him.  Cars slow or swerve around the little guy, creating a parting of cars where he rushes down the highway.

As he gets closer I realize not only is there a wiener dog running down the highway, there is a wiener dog owner running down the highway.

Far behind the little dog is a gray-haired maerda-estremera-581452-unsplashn in jeans and boots chasing after him.  The man is already sweating from the heat, swearing and yelling, “Peanut!” over and over.

Peanut ignores him and keeps running.

Other people get out of their cars in attempts to grab Peanut but he is too smart for that.  He simply dodges, then ducks his tiny little body under the nearest car and keeps running.

It takes several minutes of chasing and some helpful commuters but finally sweaty owner and panting wiener dog are reunited.  Peanut is safe.

*   *   *

I’ve been thinking about Peanut ever since, and how much I relate to him.

Too many times I rush headfirst through life, ignoring the calls of my creator as he tries to pull me from the chaos of my world. I feel him at my heels and hear him shouting, “Justin!” and instead of allowing him to reach out and pick me up, I dodge. I run. I fall. I fail.

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But God is diligent.  His love never falters or fails.  He never stops chasing me.  He doesn’t tire from calling me, get exasperated with or give me over to my own stupidity.  Even when I run into oncoming traffic, he is close behind calling my name.

But Just like Peanut, I don’t realize how much better life would be if I stopped running.

Hopefully, I learn to stop running before an unwitting commuter, busy rapping along with Macklemore and tapping the steering wheel, runs me over.

Your beauty and love chase after me
  every day of my life.
  – Psalms 23:6

Glass Beach

In 1906 an Earthquake destroyed many of the buildings in Mendocino County in Northern California.  One of those hardest hit was Fort Bragg, Ca.  When the townspeople began rebuilding they chose to dump the enormous piles of rubble onto the beach.  For the next sixty years, the beaches around Fort Bragg remained a dumping ground. The beach became an ugly wasteland of trash and debris.  Bags of trash, old appliances even entire cars were tossed onto the beach.  The beach was now no more than a foul-smelling dumpster. Finally, in the late 60’s, the dump site was moved away from the beach and cleanup projects began.  Metal, concrete, and plastics were hauled away to a new dump site, anything that could be moved away was moved.

Once everything else was hauled away, all that remained was 60 years worth of broken glass.  Coke bottles, car windshields and every other stray piece of glass tossed onto the beach had been left behind.  Surprisingly though, after years of being tossed by the waves and storms of the ocean, the glass had been reshaped.  Instead of large shards of sharp glass that would no doubt frighten off the most adventurous beach-goer, what remained of the glass was small, round and smooth.  This beach, once foul and ugly with refuse, now beautifully glistens with smooth, colorful glasglass-beachs.

Sometimes life is ugly.  Sometimes it downright stinks.  I know because I have been there. I comforted a wife for nearly ten years who could not have a child.  Then after the miracle of two children, I was once again tossed onto the rocky shoreline.  I stood at the bed of my one-month-old son and told a doctor it was okay to take him off of life support.  Life is difficult.  It can beat you down and leave you feeling like nothing more than broken glass and refuse in the sand.

What we don’t know is we are being reshaped.  Every wave that crashes squarely on my shoulder, every storm that rocks my idyllic shoreline are actually the hands of a craftsmen doing what only he can do.  Turning my ugly mess of a life into something beautiful.

Sometimes life is beautiful, even when it stinks.