Friday, March 10, 2017

Lent: Free

We discourage the girls from taking the dog into the back yard with them without a leash because whenever he's out there, the old sinner is sure to pull a Count of Monte Cristo and escape.

When he gets out like that, Loki cuts loose. He runs down the street, squeezes through fences or just jumps over them. and does everything he can to avoid being caught. His legs remember that they have power, and he thunders like a dog twice his size across yards. It's a glorious time for him. He's free!

Over the few years we've had him, though, I've noticed something -- he never wanders too far. In fact, he'll cross one street occasionally, but never two. Sooner or later, we'll see him walking happily up the street toward our house, with an almost-innocent look on his face, as if to say, "What, you didn't think I had really run away this time, did you?"

Loki has grasped what we might call the Rule of the Leaf. The leaf may long to be free of the tree, but it never survives for long that way. When he's off the leash and out of the house, Loki is free to run, and possibly even to chase squirrels and connect with the ancient heritage of wolves that still stirs in his blood. But Loki also has strong ties to his pack. We feed him, care for him and love him; and in return he loves and protects us.

If all he wanted was the freedom to run, he'd discover that he'd surrendered his freedom to belong, and the freedom he'd chosen was not freedom at all, but a form of captivity with no way out.

We should all be as wise, and as free, as he is.

Copyright © 2017 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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