Max is very difficult to trip.
Not that I have tired too often…but when we are playing or he is running by, sometimes I just stick out my leg to see if I can trip him. And it never works.
His four legs are just too sturdy and too good at keeping him upright.
The benefit of his four legs is made especially clear when we try to walk up hills. He ascends with no problems while my two legs struggle between balance and the force needed to push my body higher.
I’ve only seen him trip and fall a couple of times. Once he got really exciting about going outside and ran down the stairs a little too fast. He tripped about halfway and slid down the rest of the stairs. He didn’t get his feet under him until he was at the doorframe.
The other time was on the ice when he tried to dart off after seeing something interesting and did not realize he had no traction. But he was still sturdier that I was on the ice as I fell much more frequently and harder.
Max’s general sturdiness got me thinking about why he is so hard to trip. Clearly it is the fact that he has four legs. There is something about that wealth of support that is central to having a sturdy foundation.
And I realize that this fact is true not only for physical features like legs, but also for interpersonal relations.
The times in my life where I have felt most sturdy and most well supported were the times when I was surrounded by a strong, trusting community. I am lucky to have had such a community throughout most of my life.
For I could be as individually strong as possible, but still be knocked down if I don’t have multiple sources of support. Even evolution has proved that one-leggedness is not a strong trait (except apparently in weird mollusks). One strong leg has nothing on two weak ones.
Max’s example has taught me that a community is all too important in providing the emotional, psychological, and even physical support needed. Whether I am being blown around by the strong winds of change, flooded by sadness and despair, slipping across the icy surprises in my life, or misplacing my steps from a rush of excitement, a community is there to support and guide me.
And the strength of such community is not only evident in preventing me from being knocked down. Max’s multitude of legs also helps him get up quickly when he is knocked down. Even in community, it is still possible to be emotionally or psychologically devastated. Nevertheless, the community’s support allows for quicker healing.
Just as Max’s sturdiness comes from many supportive legs, so also my sturdiness comes from the many people who provide loving support in my life. I am very, very thankful for these people and I hope I provide similar support for them.
Thank you Max for teaching me to trust those who make up my own supportive community. Thank you for teaching me that I can jump higher, fall softer, and get up more quickly with such a community surrounding me. And thank you for being an important part of that community.