So on this “Thankful Thursday” am thankful for a little ‘profile in courage’ of our own. This is Tala. She does not like bridges. Especially long bridges. Even more so, very long swinging bridges where you can look under your four legs and see a stream flowing way down below. Nope, she doesn’t like bridges at all.
She made that clear in strong protest. I didn’t blame her.
And once she belly-crawled to the steps, she did this again:
So I called Hope and told her the situation because I was worried, way more worried than I let Hope know. With Tala’s strength and determination and the fact that there are dog-sized gaps between where the rope railing meets the wooden slats, well, I had this picture of us possibly making headline news on the Shelby Star for falling off the swinging bridge. Yes. Tala’s fearful reaction was making a literal ‘walk in the park’, so NOT….and frankly….dangerous!
But Hope gave good advice. It was this. “Mom, Tala doesn’t like to be left alone, so if you just go ahead, she’ll follow you.” So now we weren’t just talking about Tala’s courage, we were talking about my fear/courage. Although I don’t have a fear of bridges, I do have a fear of a willful, scared dog flipping out on a bridge (figuratively AND literally) and me trying to come to its rescue. So it took a step of courage for me to step ahead….but I did…and then….miracle of all miracles… (after a bit of wait time with me trying to act very nonchalant)…
…after I took a step.. so did she. Phew. Big exhale Phew.
So for the rest of the way, we walked really close, step by step, little by little until we made it to the end of the bridge. The bridge swayed a bit and there were moments of hesitation, but Tala persisted and walked close.
It kind of felt like a long way, but long ways become shorter with each step and so pretty soon, we had gotten from point A to point B and had actually survived. I was so proud of little Tala’s courage.
Sometimes bridges are scary, not just for dogs. Bridges are transitions from one thing to another. To get from one side to the place where we want to go, well, sometimes it takes steps of faith on not-so-solid-ground where one must focus on that step and not set one’s sights on the other side of the bridge. Tala, this sweet and gentle natured dog, absolutely lost all composure and fought and laid down and refused to move forward when she looked at the L O N G bridge. But the cool thing is, when she saw me go ahead, and looked at me, she was willing to take the first step onto that swinging bridge to follow me. Her fear of being left alone on the other side of the bridge was much greater than her fear of the bridge.
So it can be with transitions. Maybe sometimes we can do courageous things because of our fear of staying where we are and being left behind is greater than the fear of the challenge ahead. Better yet, we can trust the ones we’re with. Tala was fine as long as she stayed close.
After I crossed the bridge, I was thankful for the little venture and realized I want to be like Tala. I want to courageously move forward when the ground doesn’t look steady and feels scary. I know that I’m not alone…but I want to stay close to the One who is so worthy of my trust. Trust can look like a lot of things, but I think the deepest trust looks like courage to follow, step by step.
One of my favorite verses through the years has been Isaiah 52:12…It talks about how God goes before us and picks up the pieces behind… “But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” One of the beautiful things is that courage to walk through more difficult terrains often leads to amazing ventures, people, and experiences that would never happen had we let fear win.
Just ask Tala :
So here’s to bridges and transitions. Here’s to having the courage to step on to them and the tenacity and trust to cross them. And here’s to choosing wisely Who we trust to go with us along the way.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.“