Stumbling along in Life

Abbey looking up colorized 2Abbey was lying on the floor beside my desk as I was going through emails. After about ten minutes, she looked up at me and asked, “Hey, Mom. Have a few minutes to talk?”

“Sure, Abbey. What’s up?”

“When we were out for our walk this morning, did you notice me stumble? I was prancing along, really enjoying our walk. The grass was completely covered with a slippery coat of frost, but it felt nice and cool on my paws. We walked on the sidewalk for a while over by the neighbors, and then we turned around to come home. I was thinking about what a beautiful, crisp, fall day it was. Then splat. My face hit the ground. We had turned onto our circular drive, and I was trotting along next to the curb. I guess I tried to hop up on the grass, and my leg didn’t do what I expected it to do, and I fell right on my face. It hurt a little, but mostly, I was embarrassed.”

“Yeah, I saw you stumble, Abbey. I’m glad you were able to get right up and continue the rest of our walk. I’m always afraid you might be hurt when you stumble.”

“Why did that happen, Mom? I never used to stumble. Now it seems I stumble a lot.”

“Remember, we asked your vet about that. He said a few long words that basically mean that some of your muscles are getting weaker. That’s why you can’t open your mouth wide enough to pant and why you’re beginning to stumble. He says there’s nothing we can do to fix it. But, Abbey, try not to be embarrassed about it. All of us stumble in our own ways sometimes.”

“Really, Mom? How do you stumble?”

“Oh, sometimes my mind stumbles – that is I forget something. Several weeks ago, I forgot to go to a haircut.”

“I bet you were embarrassed about that!”

“I sure was. My mental clumsiness affected others, not just myself.”

“Yeah. At least when I stumble, I only hurt myself.”

“What did you do, Mom?”

“I apologized profusely, and scheduled another appointment for another day. The person who cuts my hair was very gracious about my mental lapse.”

“That’s good. It’s really hard not to feel bad when we don’t meet our own expectations of ourselves, isn’t it.”

“Whenever I make a mistake, like when I’m playing the organ in church, I say it keeps me humble. We always like to see ourselves as perfect. But we aren’t.”

“I’ll try to remember that, Mom. Whenever I stumble on a walk, I’ll say God tripped me to keep me humble.”

“That’s not exactly what I said. Perhaps God allows you to stumble and that gives you the opportunity to develop other traits, like humility, or patience. God always loves you, and doesn’t like to see you hurt or embarrassed.”

“Oh, Mom, that’s too many words to remember when I’m trying to pick myself up as fast as I can before too many cats and other dogs in the neighborhood see me flat on my face. I’ll just say God tripped me. Of course I know that God still loves me and always wants what’s best for me.”

Well, okay, Abbey. How do you feel about going for another walk this afternoon?”

“I can hardly wait. I don’t think I’ll stumble. I’ll try to concentrate harder on how to move my legs. But if I do stumble, I’ll consider it simply an exercise in strengthening my character. I guess even when life seems to be getting harder, it’s really helping me become a better dog!”

Abbey Profile 2

3 responses to “Stumbling along in Life”

  1. Oh, I don’t want Abbey to get old or have physical difficulties! I just love her!

  2. I’ve been doing quite a lot of mental stumbling lately, but I never looked at it quite like God making me more humble. Thank you, Abbey and Mim for reminding me that everyone stumbles and no one is perfect!!

  3. Really loved this blog, Marian! Of course, you know my weakness and love for animals! I’ve been doing alot of “stumbling” lately and thanks for the reminder in such a touching way.

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