Max does not wear shoes. I think it is because he wants to show off his awesome toe hair, but he tries to act humble about it.
Max’s lack of shoes has come to my attention in several ways the past couple weeks, particularly during our walks. Since it has been so rainy here this week, Max’s bare pawedness has led to some wet, muddy feet tracking in a mess to the apartment.
But even more interestingly, Max has to stop every now and then because of something he has stepped on. He’s a tough dog, so he doesn’t act hurt when he steps on sticks or rocks or thorns, but he does stop, sit down, and dig around to find what is irritating him.
Since Max does not wear shoes, this reaction comes immediately.
I, on the other hand, do wear shoes. And I also often get rocks or other painful things in my shoes. However, my guarded feet do not always experience the pain immediately. And because it would be such a task to stop and take off my shoes when I start to feel the discomfort, I most often continue walking while ignoring the growing pain in my feet.
I force myself to live with whatever small thing is causing me pain for no reason other than I have convinced myself that it would be too much trouble to deal with it. And it only grows more and more painful until it impedes my ability to continue on.
Max understands something I do not. And his response to these small pains in life seems much more reasonable.
Max walks without any insecurities or defense mechanisms and thus can immediately feel the pains of the journey. But that also means he immediately deals with them and does not try to carry on ignoring the pain.
He has taught me that such a response of immediately addressing the uncomfortable realities of life helps him to get on with the journey in a much more wholesome way. He is not content to carry those thorns with him.
He has taught me not to ignore those discomforts and pains, expecting them just to go away, and he has taught me to let down my psychological guards that really just keep those pains in my heart, unresolved.
So thank you Max for teaching me to walk without shoes. Thank you for teaching me to own up to and deal with the discomforts and pains in my life that are so easy to ignore and to continue walking with.