Oh my goodness! This whole You Tube and Facebook world of videos is HUGE - “HUU-JAH,” as my grandson would say. Do you watch them? Bet you have a favorite genre that will stop your scrolling every time. Some people can’t get enough cat videos. For some folks it’s cars racing or criminals being apprehended.
Me? It’s babies laughing. Gets me every time. I will watch it and watch again if it comes across my feed a few days later.
A video popped up this morning that I almost scrolled past. Some folks were walking across a pedestrian suspension bridge. It looked like a good one, nice and stable. Boy, did it seem like it was high up. I’m scared of heights, so that caught my attention.
But what made me stay was the young woman. She was bent over talking to her big golden retriever. The dog was down on his haunches, not moving. She was pleading with him and gently signaling him with the leash. He would not move. Nope, it wasn’t happening. I immediately felt that dog’s terror.
When my Brownie scout troop visited a fire ranger’s station on a field trip, the ranger talked with us for a bit explaining his duties, and then he led the way up the crisscrossing stairs up the tower inviting us to climb to the top and see the view from his official perch. I remember being a little nervous on the way up, but still, it was doable and fun. The view was spectacular.
But when it came time to go, I looked down the stairs, paralyzed with fear. I remember the other girls, giggling, sliding past me and hurrying down. In the middle of my fear, I was so envious of them. Honestly, I don’t remember how I got down. But as you can infer, I did.
Another time of fear-paralysis was in a mimosa tree. Yep, look it up, mimosa tree. It’s an invasive species that grows so well in Florida. Mimosas grow quickly and have beautiful pink hair-like blossoms that can eat the paint off your car if you don’t wash them off. We had one on our little corner lot that snuggled up to our house, some of its limbs hanging over the roof of our one-story house.
In those days, the daily paper was delivered by a paper-boy (always a boy) on a bike. As he pedaled past the house, he would grab a paper out of the canvas bag that hung from his handlebars and throw it into our yard. That day, he threw it a little high, and it landed on the roof close to the mimosa tree.
Now, Daddy could have gone to his work-shed and pulled out his big ladder, but why, when he had kids. So he told me to shimmy up that mimosa tree and get the paper. Always ready to do anything my Daddy asked, this sounded like a simple request; so I got to it.
The limbs of the mimosa are not huge, but rather small in diameter. I could easily grab them with my eight-year-old fingers and climb up to the roof. I got the paper and tossed it behind me to Daddy down below.
Then I turned around to come down and saw not only the distance I was from the ground, but also the gulf from the roof’s edge to the limb of the mimosa. I was paralyzed.
Like on the tower, I barely remember how I got down. I remember Daddy standing there a long time talking to me. I still remember those few seconds of frustration that registered on his face and in his voice when he realized that this was not going to be a simple process.
But now, let’s go back to that dog.
You are connecting the dots, aren’t you?
That precious animal in the video.
That was me.
Ah, but then, that young woman. She knelt beside him and spoke gently to him. Then, she got down on all fours and crawled beside him. She crawled just ahead of him, looking back and speaking softly to him. She patiently crawled and moved him toward courage and possibility by going down that path just a little ahead of him at his level of fear and understanding.
Some of the folks around were giggling and laughing at the poor dog.
But the one who loved him, didn’t laugh - she loved. She loved him and came down to his level and made him strong. With her presence, he became more able than he thought he was and he started inching slowly forward.
God bless the ones and the One who come down to our level and tell us, “Come on, I’ll do this with you. You can do it.”