old dog new tricks


Fifteen or twenty years ago one of the ladies had a “Farside” calendar on her desk in the office. You remember those, the cartoon for every day of the year with the date on it. It was bound at the top and you just peeled one day off to reveal not only the next day’s date, but more importantly the next day’s cartoon.

Some of them were amusing, some I didn’t get, some were pretty funny. This one, I remember still cracks me up! I think I actually rolled on the floor of the office the day I saw it. I can’t remember the date, but the cartoon I’ll never forget.

It was a drawing of a dog named Rex. Rex was balancing on a unicycle that he was riding across a high-wire in a circus act. He held a long balancing pole across his chest with a smaller dog on one end of the pole and a scared, arched back cat on the other end. The artist drew several close lines around the body of Rex to indicate his shaking while trying to stay balanced. There were drops of sweat shooting off of Rex’s face. To top it off, the artist gave Rex big, scared wide open eyes.

With that picture in mind here was the caption; “The one thing that was really bothering Rex was that he was an old dog, and this was a new trick”!
This, of course, assumes one is familiar with the old adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

I’ve given that dumb cartoon some thought over the last couple of decades. More now than before but for different reasons. Occasionally when I’m venturing into something new I remember it. I’ve heard the “old dog” analogy used on many different people in my life, usually referring to an older person in business or a person in the workplace that bucks change. These type of people will drag their feet or go out of their way to make a change being implemented more difficult. I’ve also seen the people who force a company to fire them because they refuse to change.

Some of us get in our comfort zones and don’t really want those zones to change boundaries. We all like to find the habits of procedures in our lives and fold them into a daily routine so there are no surprises.

We as adults don’t really like surprises. Oh, we like the obligatory present because we have an idea of what’s in the box. Real surprises for us are dreaded. We try to avoid them like the plague. The telephone ringing in the middle of the night, when our kids aren’t home, is not a good surprise.

We’ve come to dread so much the possible in life that we lose the joy of the dreaming and striving for the impossible. God’s word says, “With God all things are possible.” I believe that with all my heart and soul.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve received some of those dreaded surprises in my life. I’ve also been the recipient of great joy doing the things others gave up as impossible.
Change is inevitable, it’s going to happen whether I want it to or not. I’ve come to realize with change comes opportunity, something to be excited about. Like I was when I was a kid looking forward to Christmas. At the very least with change comes more knowledge to use with the wisdom given by God for our and others lives.

This writing rediscovered by me now is one of those changes. I’m not saying I’m good, but I’m gratified, even if nobody else is.

It is a gift from God and I’m thankful for it because I am an old dog, and this is a new trick!


first day of school

My Youngest Daughter

My youngest daughter started Jr. High School today and she was a nervous wreck this morning. Her stomach wouldn’t allow her any breakfast to start her day off with.

She made small nervous conversation about things that were insignificant. I asked her a question I already knew the answer to. “You a little nervous”? She quietly said, “yeah,” So I asked her, “you want to pray about it”? Another quiet, “yeah.” I pushed back from the breakfast table to make room for her on my knee. My prayer went something like this; “Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, just another day, but the first day of school for my “Gurmy Girl.” (my daughters nickname) Please give her strength, I pray that she would lay her worries, doubts and fears at your feet. I pray for the other students and teachers who are all probably a little anxious as well. I pray You would guide the teachers and give them wisdom. I pray Father for a good year for my Gurmy Girl this school year and may she bring You honor in it. In Jesus name, I pray A-men.”

When we finished she looked a little better, but there had been no miracle. She hadn’t supernaturally become like Wonder Woman, she was still a 12-year-old little girl learning the lessons of life. She knows that she has to walk through uncomfortable circumstances in life in order to get what she needs and sometimes wants.

She’ll learn like we as adults have, that God answers prayers if they’re in accordance with His will and timing. She’ll also learn that sometimes those prayers get answered in God’s time frame, not ours.

She has already figured out that the Almighty Creator and sustainer of all things is not anyone’s, “Genie In A Bottle.” She knows she can’t ask for anything that she desires in a prayer and throw an “in Jesus name I pray,” to the end of it, and expect it to come true.

I believe deep in her heart she knows God will answer my prayer and she will become a strong, solid lady of faith. She will learn to face the difficult times head on and not run and hide like a little girl. I think she’ll leave that for the lost world who doesn’t have a God that answers prayers in His good time and will.

But for now, she’s still my little girl and I worry for her a bit. I wish I could be there to protect her and guide her through her whole life, but I can’t, it’s not my job.
That’s God’s job. My job is to teach her to trust in God. My job isn’t just to tell her, my job is to show her with my actions, easier said than done…

I called my wife to see how my daughter did getting dropped off at school on her first day. While I was on the line, my wife desperately said, “Hang on, she’s on the other line”! I thought to myself, “This can’t be good”… When my wife came back on the line she said, “She forgot her locker combination”! My heart broke for my little girl. She’s having a tough first day of school…

God is molding and teaching her… I feel a little torn asking God to make her strong because I have an idea of what it’s gonna take to get her there…