One of my many daily ‘chores’ consists of taking the dogs out for a run.  If I am home, this is done morning and evening.  It gives Bonnie a chance to get some much needed exercise.  She loves to take a walkabout off property, so she has to stay on a lead rope if she is unsupervised.  Consequently, I make sure she gets as much supervised free time as possible.

Each day we walk across the pastures.  Each day I end up laughing at their antics.  I watch them run and play chase.  I admire Bonnie’s evasive tactics; Wilson’s wily ways; Yodie’s heeling tendencies.  I watch them twirl in midair; I watch them roll five times and then return to their feet in almost a full run; I watch them leap three feet in the air.  They are in full stretch as they race to their goal.  I admire their sheer joy, their wild abandonment towards life. 

My dogs have taught me a lesson.  I should be living my life the same way.  If I truly stop to look around, I am able to see that my dreams have been placed at my feet, just waiting to see what I will do with them.  I have a choice to embrace them, or to duck and run, hiding myself away from all that potential that is sitting right there, just waiting for me to take the next step.

Unfulfilled dreams are wonderful, because we can shift them and change them according to what we want at the moment.  But to step into a dream, make it become a reality, we have to accept that there are going to be hardships along the road.  Bonnie dreams of escaping Wilson and Yodie, only to find herself with one hind leg in Yodie’s jaws and her throat clinched in Wilson’s teeth.  She twists; she rolls; she pulls; and with a final tug she breaks free to run again. 

dscn2996-2Depending on how we approach it, we can do the same in the process of making our dreams a reality.  I have felt the clinched jaws on my ankles as setbacks have left me feeling trapped.  I know the feeling of those teeth on my throat when we are in the midst of a heartbreaking situation.  It is then that I begin my twisting, rolling, pulling and tugging to break away from what is happening, and then working my way to safer territory.

If my dream wasn’t worth pursuing, then I would have broken and run the first time I got stepped on by a cow.  I would have packed my bags the first time I had to face the death of one of my animals.  Shoot – for that matter, I would have been half way to a condo in Dallas the first time I had to clean out the chicken coop.  But my dream is worth the hardships, because I keep my focus on the final day of fulfillment.

One thing about the dogs: at one point, all of them head straight for me, as if I am home base in their game of chase.  I watch as a tangled blur of fur and teeth barrel towards me, threatening to knock me to the grass under my feet.  Just as they get close enough for me to feel the wind of their movement, they stop, gather around, and after a final snip, nip and snarl, they stand still in full pant.  They have gathered around the one who loves them, protects them, and wants them.  I see this same correlation in myself.  When I am in the throes of hardship, when I am tired, when danger or trouble is pursuing me and snapping its sharp teeth at my heels, I too, run to the One who loves me, protects me and wants me.  Standing there, I am able to rest, regroup and redirect.  It is then, and only then, that I am able to take the next step.

Life.  Dreams.  Both should be approached with wild abandonment and untethered joy.  Even the difficulties should be embraced, as they help us to grow and learn, and be the best we can be.  And when the hounds of Hell are headed your way, just run to Home Base.  Rest. Regroup.  Then take off running, in full pursuit of those dreams.  It’s the only way to truly live.


Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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