Learned from Loki

I am a dog person.  I don't know how many dogs I’ve had—they often followed me home.Boots, Rusty, Rebel, Nike, Taki, Echo, Patches, Shadow, Mandy, to name a few.  But my longest, best dog was Loki--14 wonderful years.A little white furball of cockapoo puppy, it took me several days to name him.  I chose Loki, who was the Norwegian god of Mischief and Disorder.  Liv, my Norwegian friend, said, “Is he that bad?”What was I thinking?  No, he wasn’t bad.  But he was always in trouble it seemed.  Mischief and disorder prevailed.We lived in the mountains for his early years, and he had some freedom to run.  Alas, he loved to chase cars.  He caught one once—it ran over his leg, and he limped around for weeks before it healed.Normally Loki spent his days by our mountain home, resting in the shade under the carport.  As I drove home one afternoon, I felt a bump under the tire.  I could see Loki, so I knew it wasn’t he.  No, it was 4-foot rattlesnake, stunned and still.  I ran into the house to get a shovel to kill it, but when I returned it was gone.But that snake returned.  The next day when I came home, Loki was lying in the driveway, looking very lifeless.  He had a greatly swollen neck and was not moving.  I rushed him to the vet, who said it was surely a rattlesnake bite, and Loki might live or might not.  He did.  Youth and prayer prevailed.A few months later snails invaded our garden.  Assured that snail meal would take care of them, I sprinkled it around.  I did not read all the warnings—like the one that said it was attractive to pets.  Loki managed to lick up enough to send himself into convulsions.  Three days at the vet’s, not at all sure he would pull through.  But he did.  Youth and prayer once again.Then I married, and Loki, Steve and I moved to Arrowhead Springs, partway up the mountain.  Again, Loki had a lot of freedom and lived up to his name in many harmless ways.Until the day he decided to take a journey down the hill into town.  I was frantic.  We posted signs, put an ad in the paper.  We got calls—yes, people had seen him.  One even had him in her yard.  Always he was gone by the time we got there.Then the trail indicated he was heading home, but we couldn’t find him.  A friend was walking down the big hill at Arrowhead Springs and heard whimpering from high in a narrow ravine.  We were not hopeful, but went to look.  When I called Loki, the whimpering grew louder.My sweet husband climbed up the ravine, back against one wall, legs inching up the other wall.  And there was Loki, trapped by thorny palm branches tangled in his wooly hair.  Steve extricated him slowly, inched back down and handed me a scrawny, dirty, crying dog.So what can I learn from Loki’s escapades?  First, I should have protected him more.  Freedom is nice (I really like it), but some appropriate boundaries are needed.Second, Loki’s playful mischief was not a problem, but when he chose to step out of the safety of our home, he put himself in grave danger.How often do I step outside of God’s good and protective will for my life—and find myself in grave danger?  I may want more freedom, but I have slowly learned that true freedom comes in His way, not mine.How about you?  Have your choices sometimes taken you outside of God’s good plan for you?  What kinds of consequences have you experienced?C2012 Judy Douglass