It is nice to have a tired puppy in the house. But it is even greater to watch Reggie run with such obvious joy and complete abandon! He is a living metaphor for enthusiasm, for energy, and for life. So I've been thinking lately about Agility training for Reggie. You've probably seen dogs competing in Agility trials - running through obstacles, jumping over barriers, completing a set course as quickly as possible. I think Reggie would enjoy this kind of work, and have no doubt he would be very good at it. So I've been thinking lately about Agility training for Reggie.
But I've also been thinking about Agility for me! And not just in the obvious sense of partnering with my dog in this new sport. In another sense, Agility training may be just what I need. There's something about taking my newfound energy, and enthusiasm - my new life, if you will - and using it in practiced, disciplined, and agile ways. I want to make the most of my rearranged insides and my remodeled priorities to bring joy into the world. And that will undoubtedly require a little "training", or certainly a fair amount of practice.
I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases a portion of the New Testament (Hebrews 12:1-3), which speaks to me about this whole notion of Agility:
"Do you see what this means - all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running - and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. ... "
Christ never lost sight of where he was headed. Because of that single-minded vision, because of his practice of agility, he was able not only to "put up with" anything along the way, but even to overcome it. And who knows? Maybe he's lying underneath God's table even now, resting while we get going at last.