This weekend I took Max out to my grandma’s lake cabin. I wondered in many ways how he would act, since I planned on letting him off the leash a lot. He would have all day to run around like he’s always dreamed of doing.
One thing I did not expect was to see him jumping in the actual lake. Yes, he is a Golden Retriever and should jump in water just about any chance he can get, but he’s also a weird dog. I have seen him get in only one other source of water and that was after a long hike on a hot day. Otherwise, he always tries to avoid water. He will not get in the fun water feature areas in dog parks we’ve visited and he walks as far away from yard sprinklers as possible. And, of course, he hates getting wet in the bath.
So, it was to my utter surprise that after briefly sniffing around the yard, he took off straight into the lake. It wasn’t hot and I didn’t lure him in, he just did what I’ve never seen him do before.
And he had the time of his life! He would jump in and come back out to run around, then jump in again at another spot.
He swam pretty far out (and it was good to find out that he does have some impressive swimming stamina for never doing it), and explored all the tall water grass.
And I just stood in amazement as my normally overly cautious dog ran and swam around with unrestrained zest. In that moment he taught me that sometimes you just gotta jump in a lake. You gotta throw caution to the wind and have some fun. You gotta seize those moments that bring new vitality to what you do.
And as I observed (and got splattered with muddy water as he came over to me to shake off), I also learned how infectious such life-affirming activity can be. Even in just watching Max, I felt I was sharing in his unbounded joy. It refreshed my soul to see him having so much fun and being the dog he was created to be.
Max taught me the importance of diving into opportunities that are life giving, whether that is purely having fun, helping serve or being in someone’s life, or a wonderful mix of the two. I am often too hesitant and try to think through how best to engage these opportunities so that I am most efficient. But Max demonstrated that I should jump in and immerse myself in the excitement of life.
Granted, there is also a need for times to chill out on the porch and recuperate. Max had a healthy mix of swimming and lying out in the cool autumn air. Sometimes you gotta relax, but sometimes you just gotta jump in the lake.
So, thank you Max for spending some restful time with me at the lake. Thank you for sharing with me your zest for life and thank you for teaching me about seizing opportunities for rejuvenating joy.