Tonight I went back to the Bahamas Humane Society, to help the awesome people at BAARK with the weekly dog walk. It is a night were volunteers bring their leashes to walk the dogs living at the shelter to help prepare the dogs for adoption into their forever families. The dogs, who have spent most of their week in their kennels needless to say are more than excited to see so many people with leashes. It is a bit chaotic as we all take a dog, get them on a leash and wait in the area just off the parking lot. The dogs are raring to go and once the gate is open we are off. The dogs pull and lead the humans in a blur of excitement.
The craziness continues for about 10 minutes and then I notice something really cool happens. The dogs settle into the walk and a calm seems to come over them (okay most of them). It was almost as if they remembered how to be a dog. Nose the ground, tongues hanging out and the occasional grateful look back towards the human walking them. The tails however were the most noticeable. When I looked up from my dog, I saw dogs before me and behind me with the happiest tails I have ever seen. Wagging tails are one of those purely joyful moments for me and to see so many wagging tails brought tears to my eyes, it was a great night. These dogs we so joyful to be out in the open, so happy to be walking and amazingly content just being them. It was awesome.
I had the privilege of walking a sweet dog named Gucci (she is pictured here but these are older pictures when she still had most of her fur). She has been at the shelter at least as long as August as she was Snicker's (our adopted dog's) neighbour. I do not know much more about her other than what I can see. Life in a shelter, while keeping her alive is hard on Gucci. She has lost a lot of her hair, a common occurrence I believe in shelter dogs as shelter life is stressful. Gucci, despite being fed well and looked after by the amazing Humane society staff is too thin for her beautiful frame (another common feature in shelters). As Gucci and I began our walk, she was nervous and wary of the space, but as we continued along her eyes would often look back with the most grateful expression, and what I saw was her true beauty. Gucci, I am guessing, was apply named for her once stylish beautiful coat but is now balding and skinny yet out of the shelter for a bit, her true self appears even more beautiful then her fashionable name.
All that moment took was the ability to open the cage, but it was not something that the dogs could do for themselves, they needed someone to help them out and to a place where they could be the fabulous dogs they were meant to be. A cage was holding these dogs back until tonight we opened the door. The need for a forever home is holding these dogs back, from being their real selves for the rest of their furry lives.
What is holding you back from being the real you, from being content and joyful. I am fairly sure it is not a real cage, unless somehow I have gained some followers in prison which would be pretty cool! For some of you it might be your lack of security holding you back, for others it might be the overwhelming details of life holding you back. I could list so many things that hold people back (myself included) but I won't. Whatever those things may be they can cripple our ability to be who God made us to be. Being held back can be an obvious feeling for some yet others can be oblivious to their lack of contentment. It causes us to settle for mediocrity and blinds us to the hope open in front of us. In makes us mere live instead of thrive, much like dogs in a shelter.
I want you to know, your "cage" has been opened by the only person capable of doing so. No matter where you find yourself, in or out of your figurative cage I want you to know God has opened that door through His Son. God has planned from the beginning of time for you to be you and wants nothing more than to see His children thrive in contentment and belonging, in joy and peace.
Let me challenge you, that while dogs and animals are amazing, you are more so. Look around and ask yourself am I living or thriving? If you are just living, I am grateful for that fact but what will it take for you to walk through the door of the cage and thrive or as I say live as you are loved.
for purpose of this blog my closing is not just shine on my friends but also wag your tails..