Posted February 6, 2014 

“You’ve got to work with a horse not against him,” said with a thick, butchered, Australian accent. It’s the favorite quote around our house and it comes from the movie The Man From Snowy River.

I was reminded of this quote the other day when Anwen was auditioning our four dogs for the dubious honor of pulling her sled.  Her first try was with Lily, the Basset Hound. Lily does what Lily wants. No negotiating. Instead of pulling, she climbed into the sled and waited to be pulled.  Anwen tried treats, and kind words, then pushing and stern words… no dice. Lily was the queen and couldn’t be convinced otherwise.

“It’s okay Mom,” Anwen told me, “We’ve got three other dogs.” Next the neurotic, Border Collie, Maggie. Maggie has been managing people and animals since she was a puppy.  She is very helpful. For example, once, she rounded up all the chickens herded them out of the pin and around five acres until some dropped dead of exhaustion. This day she stood with still obedience as Anwen hooked her up to the sled and then shot out like a half crazed banshee. Good thing Anwen had her riding helmet on. Following commands is not her thing.

“I think Rowdy’s the one,” she declared with so much hope, I had to look away. While Rowdy is also a Border Collie, he is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. He is as kind as the day is long, but his vocabulary consists of only one phrase, “roll over.” It’s easy to hook up a dog who is laying on the ground in complete submission. He licked her and snuggled her while she worked.  She got into the sled and he just laid there, on the ground, staring at her, smiling in that Border Collie way.  He never moved.

Kaizer was Anwen’s  last hope. He’s not a pure bred anything. He may not even be full dog. The way he coddled and cleaned the orphaned baby goats gave us suspicion. He’s really not as fast as Maggie, and he’s not always as easy going as Rowdy. He’s certainly hasn’t the refinement of Lily, as he would rather lie on human feet than in a bed, human or dog.  When Anwen called he came. When she hooked him up, he was still. When she said, “Walk.” He walked.

He walked a slow easy pace, working with the child he loved.

“You’ve got to work with a horse not against him.” Or if you prefer….

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” Colossians 3: 1-4, 15-17 MSG

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