I grapple my way toward a boulder hunkered in the shallows. The mat gray ottoman is creviced on top, the indentation filled with morning’s rain. I sweep out the water and leaves that have collected and situate my denim-clad rump as comfortably as possible as bone on rock can be. Following readjustments of my derrière, I dig into my shiny black knapsack and pull out a book entitled The Tree.
Panda, my walking buddy, wanders off, clad in a bright orange “don’t shoot me—I’m not a deer!” blanket snapped securely under her russet chin and white breast. Her mouth hangs open, a pink tongue lopping out the side embellishing a goofy grin. My golden girl, with white fur peppering her muzzle, is in the height of her golden years. But the sparkle in her umber eyes and her agility as she darts to and fro, belie her years.
“Are you a happy girl, Panda?”
With a wag of her tail, Panda trots down the path and disappears into a dense patch of wizened nettles. I turn to my book, its pages crumbled and stained with splotchy, mud colored paw prints. “The resin from the balsam fir becomes the finest cement for optical instruments.” Hmmm… imagine that.
While I’m immersed in botanic wonderment, Panda slinks gingerly into the flowing water, acutely focused on a man and dog on the far shore. I look up just in time to see Panda traversing the river.
“Panda! Get back here, right now!” I yell, authoritatively. Practicing selective hearing, Panda continues on.
With a sigh of disgust, I rise from my perch and begrudgingly slosh into the chilly water and lumber after my wayward dog. Observing my dilemma, the man and dog disappear out of sight. Panda decides to obey and heads back, glancing my way with a glint in her eyes and a smirk on her upturned lips as she passes me.
“Lord, please keep me from falling,” I blurt. Watching my feet, the sun-glinted ripples in the water dizzy me and I momentarily falter. Fully expecting a splashdown, I regain balance. “Thank you, God!” My landlubber boots squish and squash back to my rock. I tether Panda; she’ll wander no more.
In my walk with God, I am often a Panda: I follow the siren call of curiosity and teeter and totter out of God’s will.
“Linda, get back here right now!”
…though she stumble, she will not fall,
for the Lord upholds her with his hand.