In the beginning was the ball, and the word was ball
Dog looked at the ball and gave it freely expecting that it would be thrown
And it was thrown
And Dog saw that it was good…..
Then created was the walk,
And dog was told that he may partake of any pleasures in the walk excepting the fruits of chasing cars, cyclists or eating joggers.
But the seed had been sewn and dog saw only the moving cars, the delicious cyclists and the scrumptious joggers no matter whether they were lithe and fast or large and wobbly…. And dog could not resist.
Thus there was much gnashing of teeth, of cries in the wilderness and elsewhere and there was much anguish.
Thus came the great commandments
“Closer!” – thou shalt place the ball within easy reach if thouest wants it lobbed verily.
“Sit!” – Thou shalt sit, an remain sitting until thy owner allowest movement
“Stay!” Thou shalt remain, until told “good boy” or instructed otherwise.
“calmmmmm….” Thou shalt sit, make an attempt at relaxing and breathe – and take in the good air
“Oh Barney / Barnabus !!!” Thou shalt consider what sin thou hast committed and repent with an
appropriate sorrowful expression.
“Get DOWN! ?Get Off!” Thou shalt not attempt to climb into thy owner’s ear, nor trample the flower beds, or share the duvet.
“Come to me/ Barney come!” Thou shalt come.
Nb. The final commandment currently needs more work.
(With thanks and credit to Simon Cade who created a version of this on Facebook a few years ago and from whom I pinched the idea)
Barney the 10 month old Collie has been with us for a fortnight and progress has been made albeit slowly… but the taste for cyclists and joggers in going to be hard to break. The head harness has stopped the pulling to a large extent which means I no longer have to stop to recover while I sew my arm back onto my shoulder!
Saturday morning’s dawn expedition yielded something of a breakthrough when a jogger ran past without much reaction from Barney and he did not jump at any cars until the final one before we got back through the gate.
A fortnight ago I was celebrating a year of solitary morning lockdown walks when I prayed, wrote sermons in my head, rehearsed sermons and mulled over the issues of the day. Then suddenly all changed and all focus was on whether a jogger might be around the next corner or whether I could grab his collar at the sound of a car which has rather curtailed the spiritual meditative rhythmic pacing in the dawn light along the mineral tramway and the Great Flat Lode.
Life changes suddenly and lurches off in a different direction from that which you expect, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a way that can devastate. As chaplain, a spiritual director and as a licensed Lay Minister who now has a funeral ministry I talk to all sorts of people about tragedies ranging from grief for a recent bereavement to the diagnosis of a serious illness and from family issues to the loss of faith and consequent heart break. It was never something that was on my radar to do, Lez is much better at that stuff than me and my ministry was always from the pulpit or with children, I never thought I was equipped. God has other ideas however and the Holy Spirit provides us with the wherewithal to accomplish the tasks he sets for us whether we are in good health, in adversity or even at the point of his calling us home. “Do not fear,” says Jesus on countless occasions… but I think being nervous of doing something we are called to do outside our comfort zones is air enough.
Love Zoom or hate it, in one form or another it is here to stay. There are times when I love it and some when I hate it but all things considered I would not want to be without it, or its equivalent. Our morning prayer crew are still faithfully there across the week at 9am each day but they would certainly not gather so faithfully if that service was in a church. Meetings are so much better on ZOOM or Teams
- You don’t have to travel which saves time, fuel and the environment
- You have time before a meeting to make your coffee as you like it and roll into the meeting punctually
- If it is really boring or if someone is irritating beyond your endurance you can always feign a connection problem and switch off.
- You don’t have to travel in the dark….
- You can have a comfortable chair!
- You are not near anybody else’s germs.
- You don’t have to wear a mask
- and very importantly it is possible to have a meeting with folk who are geographically very distant.
So I rather hope that training sessions will continue on Zoom along with governor meetings and study groups…. Though I really am missing going to my favourite restaurants and the theatre!